Hi guys! So, if you follow me on my Instagram (spoiler alert: you should), you may have seen I got a tattoo! I thought I’d make a quick series of posts about what it means and planning it, then in a couple of weeks when it’s healed I’ll make a part two talking about the healing process and the experience getting it.
(Quick TW for mention of depression and suicidal tendencies)
This is my first ever tattoo. Until about 12 I hated them. I thought the idea of voluntarily putting ink in your body was weird and a bit stupid, and in all honesty I just didn’t understand the concept of wanting something like that. I now realise how judgemental that was! It was around the same age that I started suffering from depression, and at 14 it really peaked (or dipped, I guess) and I was really ill. To cut the long story short, I decided I needed to get better, and one of the first things I did was change my Tumblr URL. That might seem a bit silly but my previous URL was very self-loathing and I only used Tumblr as a way to beat myself up and ultimately just trigger myself. So I changed the name/URL to ‘ad futurum’ which means ‘to the future’ in Latin (more on that later). Since then it’s remained the same and the phrase has come to have a lot of meaning to me.
First and foremost, it reminded (and still does) me that I have a future. I went on Tumblr every day and I saw ‘ad futurum’ every day, so it would always remind me that no matter what, I do have a future. Even if it’s a shit future, I have one. For so long I felt I didn’t have one; I told myself that I wouldn’t reach being an adult or finishing education or anything. When you’re in a severe spell of depression – in my experience, anyway – it feels kind of like you’re on drugs, and it’s all very hazy when you look back on it. It’s all just a blur of pain. But one thing I remember specifically is sitting in the garden with my mum and we were both crying, and I promised her I wouldn’t kill myself before I got to 18. I honestly thought I would turn eighteen and then just end it all. It was like a horrific countdown until I could escape. If you’ve read some of my other posts you’ll know my promise didn’t last and I have attempted numerous times (which then of course ignites deeper depression because you’ve ‘failed’ – it’s a complex topic), but the point is I was so sure I didn’t have a future I was happy to just throw it away with one sentence. It was so casual to me. Ad futurum reminds me that I have a future, I have a life. I can always change my future. I did change my future, and it is the most powerful, difficult thing I have ever done. I saw where my life was heading and I picked it up and moved it onto a different path, and I will be forever grateful to myself for having the sheer determination to do that. Without that stubbornness that made me change, I wouldn’t have the strength it led to. This is also the reason for the placement of the tattoo: it’s on my left forearm, just below my wrist and it covers some of my scars. On some of my darker days the saying still helps me to think in that way, and even if one day I’m completely free of depression, it is still a message that carries so much meaning for me.
Ad futurum also, to me, gained a new level of meaning in the past four years or so. I’ve mentioned my passion for film and my dreams on here, so I won’t go into mega-detail, but obviously the film industry is incredibly hard to get into, let alone be successful in. ‘To the future’ reminds me that however hard it gets for me to reach my goals, however many times I get knocked back, in the future it won’t always be this way. I have a future career, I have future chances to try again, future opportunities to take and I just need to keep moving forward. I know it’ll be ridiculously difficult. A lot of me doesn’t mind if I don’t ‘make it’ and has accepted that as a large possibility, but the ambitious side of me is determined to just keep on going on until I make it – in whatever capacity that is. This is also the reason for my chosen font – courier new is the font for screenplays, which is my main area of passion, plus it’s simple and easy to read so good for practical purpose as well.
The last layer of meaning that ad futurum has is my breakup last year – yep, I know it’s super dumb and kinda cliched to get a tattoo because of or after a break up, but since I was already getting this and it already had meaning, this just added extra meaning. I think everyone knows just how disastrous my breakup was, and how it’s affected me as a person as well as my life in general. To the future helps me with a more positive, proactive way of thinking (which I really struggled with until about a month ago). It makes me think y’know what, fine, this sucks and nearly destroyed me, but it didn’t. I am still here, still strong and I got myself out of the depression that the breakup put me back in. I survived again, and in my future – which I do have – I will be happy, whether that is alone or with someone else. It reminds me I don’t need someone to complete me, and that whatever happens I have my back. I’m on my side. That is all I need. It’s also a way for me to change myself from the person she knew. Physically altering my appearance (I’ve got new piercings, a new haircut and now this) has helped me distance myself from what happened and adopt a sort of ‘you don’t get to know the new, improved me’ attitude which has honestly helped. Though I do not recommend getting a tattoo or something just after or just because of a breakup!
I put so much planning and thought into getting this tattoo, I’m such a cautious person and I’m not at all spontaneous. I recently got two more ear piercings after only planning it for a few hours and that was unbelievably (hilariously) stressful for me. So I considered getting this for about two and a half years, I researched aftercare, places to get it and planned the actual tattoo for about six months and then I booked it for two months later. I was very careful. That’s not to say getting a tattoo spontaneously is not okay – I have a lot of respect for people who can plan something then get it asap – but personally I’m such a panicky, overthinking person I needed a lot of prep time. It also helped my parents I think as they didn’t want me to get it, so even though my being responsible didn’t help them as such, it made them feel reassured that at least I was sure and safe.
Finally, yep it’s in Latin and yep that’s cheesy, but y’know what? I like it. Most people won’t understand what it fully translates to unless I explain it – it’s a meaning for myself. And yup, I fully checked all the translations I could find – it translates to ‘to the future’ as I first thought, but is also said to be ‘the future’, ‘to future’ or similar wordings. I checked all that before I got it, and I’m fine with that – chances are it’d be very difficult to get a perfect accurate translation anyway. Either way it carries the same sentiment for me.
I love tattoos, I think they’re a stunning way to express yourself or inspire yourself, and it’s just awesome to be able to have art on your body. On myself however, I only want ones which have a lot of meaning as I know anything else I’d regret – again, that is just myself and my opinion for my own tattoos, not what I think about anyone else’s. I’ve promised my mum that I won’t plan another until I’m 21, but until then (if I decide to get another, ofc) I’m really happy with this.
Part 2 to follow shortly!