I have a tattoo of a tiny anchor on my right wrist. A permanent fixture that was a couple of years in the making. I dropped this idea into the sea a few years back, while sitting across from my gusband, and three empty bottles of wine at a cafe in Paris.
“You’re my anchor.” I told him.
We continued sipping from our wine glasses while the idea floated around us, finally taking root as my eyes lit up and I all but shouted, “Tattoos! We need anchor tattoos!”
In his calm, causal manner, he put the wine glass down and said, “Yes.”
That night we sat at that little table top while he drew a small black anchor on my wrist and I tried to get used to the idea. I have one other tattoo which I cannot see on my back, but he is about 40% covered in ink and didn’t need any ‘getting used to the idea’ to put needle to skin.
We asked a cabbie in butchered French to find us a tattoo parlour, but at 1am we could not locate something that didn’t promise lifelong disease. The idea sat at the bottom of my mind as Mark and I parted ways and I headed back to Ottawa and he to NYC.
A couple of years later, after still throwing the idea around but never committing, he surprised me with a booked appointment and pictures of tiny black anchors. “Pick your favourite and tell me where to put it; no matter what you decide I’m getting that tattoo today.”
We both got our tattoos that day. He in his calm, casual demeanour, and me huffing and puffing as if I were in labor (damn, did that ever hurt). And I love it. I treasure it. I look at it often, but most times it catches me by surprise, in the moments I need it the most.
Whenever someone asks me about my tattoo I stutter over my words and have a very hard time trying to impart its meaning. This tattoo is extremely personal and holds tremendous significance to me. I realize I put it on my wrist, but believe it or not it was mainly for my eyes as a reminder of how to live this life right.
In simple terms, this is my reminder to live life presently. To anchor myself in the moment at hand and not tread in the waters of the past or drown in worries for the future. Both of which I had spent some time doing, both of which did not serve me well and both of which threw me into a tumultuous year of change. Within the span of 365 days I got divorced, sold my house, started a new job, and decided to stay in my new city, instead of moving ‘home’ to Newfoundland, which I had been focused on doing.
My world flipped upside down but because of this man, and a small group of people I would be absolutely lost without, I was able to anchor myself down and live through it.
I got this tattoo to remind me to breathe. To focus on the now and notice when my mind drifts elsewhere. I also got it to remind me of these dear people that basically carried my entire weight for a year while I went through hell and back.
I put this anchor on my wrist so that I’d see it often; my silent reminder that if I get lost again I can drop that anchor, take a moment to get my bearings, and set myself on the right course.