Picture It and Write: Mementos

by joetwo

Hi There! This is my offering for this week’s Picture it and Write from Ermilia’s Blog here. Once again the picture is not mine I only use it for inspiration. Anyway; Enjoy!


They say our faces, our whole bodies, tell our story, that each crease and line and scar is a testament to what we had to go through to get where we are. In the case of Janet Smyth the story on her  body was of a more unique sort.

From an early age Janice had been fascinated by tattoos. Maybe it was her grandfather, who sported a large anchor on his bicep and would use it to start off tales from when he travelled the world. Maybe it was simply the beauty of colour against skin. Whatever it was on her sixteenth birthday Janice rushed to the tattoo parlour to sample her first taste of ink.

Janice had put a lot of thought into what she was going to have. A tattoo was going to be there for a long time after all so she had to be sure that she was going to like it, appreciated it years down the line. She thought that the then current trend of eastern lettering to be too pretentious and far too open to the chance of a mistranslation. She rejected words as being too bland. And Celtic symbols were far too common. Instead she thought she would go with an image, something beautiful in its own right but which would have a meaning for her, a memento of the time she had it done.

She started small, a bird on her ankle, bursting into flight as a symbol of her taking her first strides of independence from her parent’s control. It was her first true act of defiance. Definitely something worth commemorating.       

To say that Janice’s tattoo was greeted with trouble at home would a gross understatement. There was shouting, demands to have it removed followed by a grim acceptance that could devolve into catty comments at anytime. It was in fact such a tumultuous time that she decided that her next tattoo would commemorate it. A series of Koi pools with water falls flowing from one to the other, showing life can be both calm and rough at times.

It went on like that. Butterflies symbolised her final emergence into adulthood, a piece of driftwood on the ocean showed how she felt when working in the real world for the first time. She used a fallen cherry blossom to remember her grandmother, a subtle anchor in its folds showed how close her grandparents had been. A flower, first blossoming and then withered showed the change of a relationship first from beautiful beginning to rotten end. The tattoos grew in number and each told a story.

In years to come, when she was alone, Janice would sit and look at the stories on her body. Sometimes she would need a mirror to see what was there, to appreciate it fully. But that was alright. Each image brought back a flood of memories, the mementos opening new doorways to her past. Not all of them were good but they were her stories, her life, her way of telling them.