Lindsey Jones shares how her experience of tattoos relates to The Lion Tattoo
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Being an intern in London from the United States has been one of the most memorable times in my life. One of the ways I commemorate these experiences is by getting tattoos so that they will always be permanently etched in my body, mind, and heart. Before I came to London, I had a tattoo of a snowflake behind my ear that I got with my best friend so we always have each other in our minds. Another tattoo I have is of the TARDIS from Doctor Who, reminding me of the journeys I have had in the past and those that await me in the future.
During the time I interned, I got my third and largest tattoo by far. One of my favorite plays of all time is Hamlet, in which everyone who thinks of Shakespeare is always reminded of the “to be or not to be” speech. The speech says that we could escape a lot from being dead, but maybe it’s truly better to put up with the bad things in life. I, for one, have always loved this speech because of the fact that life does get very rough and truly unbearable at times but there are so many things worth living for. That is why I decided to get my tattoo of Hamlet holding the skull of Yorick, the scene in which Hamlet finally understands and accepts the fate of humanity. I lost my mother in July of 2016 and, as anyone does, I went through all the stages of grief. I immediately hit denial, anger, bargaining, depression and then finally acceptance, just as Hamlet did.
Because the tattoo was so large and there was so much shading and highlighting, it was easily the most painful tattoo I have ever had. Both my thigh and my jaw were very sore (I had been clenching my jaw for two and a half hours, of course), but it was beyond worth the pain for what is literally a work of art gracing my leg for the rest of my life.
It takes a lot of courage to get a tattoo. The first reason being that it is a permanent work that goes on your body for life so it shouldn’t be of anything you will regret later. The second reason is that oftentimes, the area in which people tend to get tattoos are often on very sensitive areas with a lot a nerves surrounding it, on skin with not a whole lot of body fat separating the skin from the bone, or both. I always keep reminding myself that the beauty of a tattoo and the memories that go along with it are worth the pain.
Words oftentimes do not carry as much meaning as actions do, a lesson I immediately saw in the book The Lion Tattoo as told by Atefeh Maleki Joo from an original tale by Rumi. The Lion Tattoo is one of my favorite Tiny Owl publications by far because you rely less on the words and more on the illustrations and actions that are being done, going hand-in-hand with the lesson of the book itself. The supposed “tough” main character of the story has so much pride in the fact that he is going to get this gigantic, gorgeous tattoo of a lion on his back. He has a lot of talk but can’t walk the walk; he keeps chickening out of different areas of the tattoo and ends up with a really strange-looking lion. The words and pride of the main character end up meaning nothing because he can’t go through with the actions to back them up. Lions are powerful creatures and the lion in this story delightfully surprises you and makes for a very humorous tale in which an important lesson for young and old is told.
*Lindsey Jones used to be an intern at Tiny Owl
More about The Lion Tattoo:
- Elizabeth Laird: we need to be educated in how to use wordless picture books. Video
- A blog: Rumi’s stories survive the test of centuries!
More about Rumi:
- Mystic, philosopher, poet: all about Rumi
- Our previous Rumi titles: The Parrot and the Merchant and The Jackal Who Thought He Was a Peacock
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