When I could do nothing else but sitting around, talking to other patients and therapist…reading was a great possibility to escape the ubiquitous tristesse of the ward for a couple of hours. I would just grab a book, and crawl away with it into the quietest corner I could find….as far away as possible from anyone else.
So, about two years ago, during my long hospitalization and one of those 10-hours-long reading marathons (in said quiet corner^^), I stumbled upon a William Earnest Henley poem called “Invictus” and it has been running around in my mind ever since…because it’s just beautifully written and still suits my situation just as perfectly as it did back then.
So, when I read this poem, I knew immediately that I wanted a tattoo of it….not of the entire poem of course, but of the title….Invictus.
Ever since I can remember I wanted to get a tattoo, honestly…I started thinking about it when I was 9 or so. As a child I always thought people with tattoos looked cool…. I think it all started when I saw a women with some sort of ivy tendril covering her whole back…It was a huge tattoo for such a petite person, but it looked fabulous.
Now, it’s not so much about looking “cool” anymore, but about conveying a certain message^^ In my opinion tattoos should have a meaning. I’m not fond of the stuff people get, because it’s quite in fashion or something….like those tribals and tramp stamps people got back in the 90s?
So many people paid a lot of money and endured the painful procedure to get something they are now terribly ashamed of …and now they need laser therapy to get rid of their “peccadillo” again. And why is that??? Because, tribals and tramp stamps, cupcakes, faries….or whatever, (mostly) don’t have a deeper meaning to those people.
This is my tattoo….I had it done about 2 days ago (on my left wrist).
I absolutely love it! 🙂
As for the meaning:
– Birds are commonly associated with the feminine
– Throughout the ages the birds ability to fly is the symbol of the souls journey to the Hereafter.
But a bird in flight also stands for the spirit, for beauty, transcendence and hope.
– Swallows are a symbol for freedom, but also for returning home safely.
Other meanings include a struggle that has been overcome, a victory gained, and a hardship survived.
Well…and Invictus is, as I already said, a poem by William Earnest Henley, that means a lot to me.
It’s just the perfect description of my struggle with mental illness…and a little reminder for myself to never give up 😉
It was important for me to get this tattoo….it stands for a new, beginning chapter in my life. A life in which depression might be a huge issue but that’s not controlled by it anymore.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.