This morning, this quote caught my attention: "It's so hard to forget pain, but it's even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness." Novelist Chuck Palahniuk said this. Don't know this novelist, but what he said rang true for me.
My body is covered with scars and they are all reminders of pain. The long scar on my right knee reminds me of the 14 months I spent on crutches as a kid due to osteochondritis dissecans, which ended up causing loose bone fragments in my knee. The scar on my left knee reminds me of a chain saw accident. The scar on my back is from a discectomy. The scars on my hands are from cysts removed and carpel tunnel surgery. And, there's the scar on my left arm from when I fell into the candelabra (don't ask). Lots of scars, and all reminders of pain.
But, I also have tattoos on my skin and it was in reading the above quote that I realized why we people with ink get inked. Tattoos can be reminders of happiness. The kanji symbols on my right ankle mean "children." I got the tattoo to commemorate my daughter's adoption. (Women who give birth have stretch marks honoring their children; I have a tattoo.) Her adoption was one of the happiest moments in my life! The star burst on my left calf reminds me that there is life after divorce. I thought that I wouldn't survive a divorce. Turns out that I did – and that I am happy, too.
I have scars to show for happiness, scars filled with ink.
Now I understand why I ask people about their tattoos – I'm asking them about what has made them happy. No wonder they smile when they tell me about their tattoos.