New tattoo! In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t think I’ve actually lost 5 lbs (yet), as I said I would before rewarding myself with new ink. But I’ve been much better about going to the gym several times per week and I’ve stopped eating so much crap. I can see the difference in my face and body, so I’m not going to get worked up about the number on the scale creeping downward too slowly for my liking. I don’t want to say that I’m replacing fat with muscle, because I’ve played that self-deluding game before and no, I was replacing fat with even more fat. But whether it is a function of less grease (no more second dinners at 4:00a.m.), more cardio, or simply not getting hammered every night of the week, it is encouraging to see positive changes… however incremental.
Anyway, I headed to Liberty Tattoo, since everyone who works there is fantastic and will be realistic about whether your concept will work. And indeed, after they advised me that my original idea wouldn’t fit on my forearm in the size I wanted with the level of detail I wanted, I somewhat improvised. I knew I wanted to put the word “eudaimonia” somewhere on my body in Greek letters, and I wanted a rainbow somewhere as well. I combined the two and ended up with what I have affectionately dubbed my rainbow crotch flag. Because I’m subtle and classy.
The final result (although, of course, it is still healing):
It’s not actually on my groin, I might add. It’s on my upper thigh. It should be fully covered by just about every skirt, dress, or pair of shorts that I own, but it is low enough that I can give someone a peek without getting cited for public indecency. It’s definitely more “just for me” than it is for sharing and showing off—which is totally fine, since it is personally meaningful and not immediately understood by others.
The rainbow is a Pride thing, obviously, but I also wanted one irrespective of that connotation simply because I think they are pretty! And the other symbolism I associate with rainbows (hope, beauty at the end of the storm) appeals to me as well.
As for “eudaimonia,” the 15 second, chatting in a bar, summary explanation that I’ve been giving when asked is that it is a Greek word/philosophy meaning, essentially, “fulfillment” or “flourishing”—and particularly obtaining such contentment through the pursuit of excellence in one’s endeavors. It is achieving “good spirit” (“eu” = good, “daimōn” = spirit) through virtue, but “virtue” in the sense that ancient Greeks understood it – so not simply morality in the religious sense (though “aretē” is not necessarily incompatible therewith), but rather a broader concept that incorporates and emphasizes ideals such as wisdom, self-reflection, beauty, reason, and compassion as well.
The idea of eudaimonia was introduced to me during my senior year of high school and it has stuck with me since. From my party girl phase through my emo/metal girl phase to my (a little too intense) runner girl phase, I remained a Latin geek throughout, and I had an amazing teacher for all four high school years. Mr. H.’s pedagogy included the contention that, by the time students are taking AP classes and preparing to go to college, they ought to be able to manage their own study schedules and develop related time-management and self-discipline skills without the incessant pestering of adults. It was precisely what I needed to thrive. I was a pretty “quirky” (read: weird ass) teenager who would do things like skip lunch and all my afternoon classes to spend the day in the local library translating the Aeneid from its original into English (or reading medical textbooks just for the hell of it), but Mr. H. was the first one to realize that it was in everyone’s interest to just let me do my own thing and trust that all my assignments would be completed on time and done right.
That’s my long lead-in to the fact that Mr. H. also taught a Philosophy class for seniors that I loved as well. It was there that I first heard the term eudaimonia, and it appealed to me more than any other concept we learned that semester. So I like that the tattoo is also my little tribute to him for giving me the independence I needed and allowing me to do my own thing and figure myself out without judgment, scolding, or frustration. Frankly, I think I can credit him for the ease of my transition into managing the workload at Notre Dame as well.
It took about an hour and fifteen minutes to complete. I guess doing it on a fleshy area was helpful, because it didn’t bother me. (I don’t have any tattoos on my feet because that’s the one area I’m nervous actually will hurt.) Next up: a full forearm Gibson Les Paul, cherry sunburst. Having discussed with the good folks at Liberty, I know it’s going to take at least 2+ hours. But, right arm or left? I know I’m committing myself to a lifetime of long-sleeved suit jackets during business hours – but it’ll be worth it, right?