An Authentic Tattoo

My word for 2024 is "authentic" and so far I'm doing my best to live by this.

I've shared already 'things I will no longer apologise for' which really showed my starting point in being authentic. Being completely me and being unapologetic for it.

Back in 2015 I got my first tattoos. My whole plan was to just get some small ones. Just 'Alis volat propriis' (She flies with her own wings in Latin, and the reason my blog got it's new name), a semi colon for mental health, and a bird as I'd just been introduced to the song Blackbird (by the Beatles but a different version) and the lyrics really resonated with the point I was at in my life at the time (spoiler alert, the bird tattoo was added to with two other birds which looked shocking so all 3 were covered up).

I never imagined that almost 10 years later I'd have a full sleeve, some on my fingers, some dotted around on my other arm, chest, a few on my left left and now what seems to be the start of a half leg sleeve. 

I remember a conversation at work once where someone had mentioned a certain object and I said "Oh, I have a tattoo of that" and their reply being "Well, what haven't you got a tattoo of?". It made me laugh because a lot of my tattoos may seem random and don't all follow a particular theme other than being part of my story. 

Someone else once said "I look at your sleeve and feel like it tells your story". I loved that.

There was one tattoo I'd joked about getting for a while, and it is one that had the most "don't get that" or "you can't get that" and this year, with my word of 2024 shouting loudly in my head along with one of my life mottos of "I'd rather regret doing something than to regret not doing something" I sent over the list of tattoos to my tattoo artist and it proudly included the tattoo I had been wanting to get.

I'm not even sure why I say I'd joked about getting it. I think for a while because it was just an idea that seemed silly to me really, but more based on what other people would think, but for me is something really special.

When both my children were little we used to watch 'In the Night Garden' A LOT. I remember putting it on when I was pregnant with Charles, my eldest son, and thinking "What on earth is this?!" but then, once he was born, we never missed an episode. We would recreate an episode about "Iggle Piggles Tiddle" (when Iggle Piggle stamps on the floor and a burst of water pops up) in the bath by spraying water out of a bottle. I'd ring the phone, hand it to Charles, then grab the phone I'd used to call my phone and go to another room and pretend to be Makka Pakka. Birthdays and Christmases would include a Ninky Nonk or some kind of 'In The Night Garden' merchandise, including a large Makka Pakka teddy. And despite having a fear of people dressed in costumes, I grabbed my youngest son during a visit to Alton Towers where Upsy Daisy was paying a visit and had a photo next to her.

It's got a lot of happy memories for me, particularly because at that time I was struggling a lot with my mental health and it was around this time I started writing about it and becoming really passionate about breaking the stigma, talking about it and being really open about my journey.

My boys obviously grew out of watching the programme but it's always been something really special to me (it is still to them in some ways) but it's something that now, as a 38 year old adult, I still find really comforting, to the point that when I'm in a really low point with my head and going to bed sad or struggling my boyfriend will sweetly play the theme tune to make me smile (ok, it also makes me cry happy tears too). For a while I thought it best to not admit these things but, authentic me, doesn't see why I should hide it. Realising now too, it's not really any different to adults who like Disney! 

On my right leg I have tattoos of things that bring me peace, things that I find spiritually safe, and now also things that don't fit on my sleeve I suppose! Last year I got the laughing Buddha, lyrics to two songs by The 1975 to go along with a crystal tattoo, a clog with tulips and angel wings with two hands which represent guardian angels. So it felt super fitting that I added another thing that makes me feel spiritually safe, and brings me peace.

On the inside of my right leg on my ankle, I got, tattooed on me FOR LIFE, my favourite character from In The Night Garden.

Makka Pakka.

He's only small, but it makes me smile every time I look at him. Just before he stuck the needle in I did say to my tattooist "Am I silly for getting this? Is this too much?" and he is incredibly honest with me and said "not at all". 

Do I feel regret? Absolutely not! Am I showing him off with pride at any opportunity? Absolutely yes!

He is a symbol of peace for me, of happiness, and of me being unapologetically me. 



I saw a post on LinkedIn recently that really hit home to me. It was a lady talking about her two grown up sons, one who lives away from hom...