It's often taken by surprise when others hear that I have four tattoos, let alone any at all. Located on all the most hidden areas a chick can hide, lies four tiny tats with mighty meaning. Introducing one of my favs, next to my roman numeral achilles tattoo - a simple, yet bold starfish. Established in 2012.
If I were to choose a theme to portray my life I would say its nautical, without hesitation. Most of my childhood was spent on my fathers boat, teal is always my color of choice, I don't believe a vacation is a vacation unless it's somewhere tropical, The Little Mermaid is my favorite Disney movie, I crave the New Jersey Shore more than I crave chocolate, and I'm at my happiest when my skin is tan. The sound of the ocean is my drug of choice, and when the time one day comes - I request my ashes be scattered over the sea. Needless to say, I already possess an anchor tattoo. Shocker, right?
Starfishes are one of the most beautiful animals to ever touch water, and although sea stars are hard to find, they never seize to fascinate. If you hadn't already known, starfish aren't actually fish. They're considered Echinoderms, which are in the same family as sea urchins and sand dollars.
When I was a little girl, I had once found a starfish during an annual family vacation at Long Beach Island, NJ. I was told that if a sea star looses a limb, or a leg, it will grow a new one. I was young enough to want proof, but smart enough to abide by my parents when I was told to leave them alone. As I got older, I learned that starfish can actually drop their own limb as self defense if they felt threatened by a predator. Regardless of reasoning, the new limb(s) take over a year to fully grow back. This intrigued me the most, and I conclude that starfish are symbolic of perseverance, strength, and patience.
I spent the Fall 2012 semester of college at home, and NOT by choice. The semester prior, I had just started dating my boyfriend from school, been initiated into Alpha Phi, and would have been the first semester I got to live off campus. That semester home, the transition was rough and the FOMO was real, but I overcame it. That semester home, I took 12 credits worth of classes at a community college to try to transfer back to SUNY Cortland. I had never struggled so hard in my life trying to pass one of my classes, but I pushed for one on one tutoring and passed it. That semester home, I was fortunate enough to be present during the time my father needed a major procedure done. That semester home, Hurricane Sandy hit my hometown a week after my father was released from the hospital and he had to recover without heat, electricity, or communication with any doctors. But guess what? He, and we, got through it.
Just like starfish, healing does not happen overnight. Whether it's physically or emotionally, growing doesn't even happen over a month's time. Being that I was 20 years old, becoming sucked into social media's influence on society, I'm not sure how I trained myself to grasp this concept. But I did. I applied for readmission for the following Spring 2013 semester, carried my community college credits over, and ended up graduating right on time with SUNY Cortland's Class of 2014.
The starfish on my foot is the least hidden out of all the tattoos I have. Although what I went through isn't the biggest deal in the world, it was the biggest struggle at the time. My starfish will forever be an inevitable reminder of my own perseverance, strength, and patience I must have during any battles to come.