Did you know that I have three tattoos? I had a small red heart inked near my pelvic area when I was 22 or 23. I wanted my first tattoo to be small and simple because I had no idea what the experience would be like. Turns out I loved the experience and love the permanent reminder on my body. On my 25th birthday, I had a simple cross design inked on my left hip, and years later, the Korean symbol for strength was etched on the inside of my left ankle.

My nephew, Cole, looked the tattoo upside down and pointed out I have the number 4 on my ankle. He's so smart.

I want another tattoo. My mom is probably wrinkling her nose in distaste as she reads this (she’s never been a big fan of tats), but I can’t lie — I want another tattoo. The trouble is I can’t decide on a design. I’m pretty sure I want something fancy around my other ankle or something smallish on one of my shoulder blades. I just can’t figure out the design. I would love to have something that represented my love for books, writing, my parents and my sisters, but I can’t find a design that I like enough to have permanently etched on my body.

I knew without a single doubt in my mind I wanted to have a heart, cross, and the strength symbol on my body. For some reason, hearts have always fascinated me. The idea of love and romance and just being loved. A single red heart was the perfect first tattoo to test the waters. The blue cross represents my faith in God and my favorite color. And I wanted a Korean symbol to remind me of my beginning. I chose the word strength to serve as a reminder that I’m stronger than I think and that I don’t need to be strong all of the time. Strength is not perfection. Strength is about being true to yourself and your values. Really the word serves many purposes.

Stick figure running? I like it.

For the longest time, I didn’t want a tattoo on my back, especially the lower back area (hello, tramp stamp). I needed to see that tattoo. I didn’t want to look at the tattoo through a mirror. But now I’ve change my mind and wouldn’t mind a small tattoo on one of my shoulder blades. Not really sure what made me change my mind, but whatever — another place for a tattoo. Yay! Now I just need a few designs that catch my attention and make me say, “Hey, I need that!”

OK, one of the funniest stories about my strength tattoo. During an unplanned doctor’s visit, the doctor wanted to perform a woman’s health exam to figure out why I was sick. I hate women’s health exams with a passion. Past women doctors have been really friendly, kind, and understanding about the whole process but I still hate the exam. With a passion. A necessary evil. I have to give myself a pep talk and psych myself before each appointment (yes, I am that big of a baby). Anyway, I kindly said no but the doctor insisted on the exam to figure out why I was sick.

The kicker was I was already half dressed and sitting on the examination table anyway. The nurse was really kind and tried her best to put me at ease. I was sick. I was tired. I wanted to go home. I wanted to cuddle with my cats. I started crying because I’m a big baby. The doctor was very nice, quick, and gently. The nurse held my hand the entire time while I was crying and letting both of them I was OK during the examination. The nurse saw my the Korean symbol on my ankle and asked what it meant. Through my sniffles and tears, I said meekly, “Strength.” I wonder if there is a Korean symbol for big fat baby.

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