The Sparrows


Last night, my husband and I got matching tattoos. Well, kind of matching. They are different, but the same. This was my first. It was both terrifying and satisfying at the same time.

My self-harm of choice is scratching. Not talking about your light scratching of an itch, but scratching deeply and roughly, repeatedly going over the same spot over and over. I get some type of enjoyment by watching the skin go from pink to red to open and bleeding. I’ve been having really bad self-harming urges lately, and this really, well, scratched that itch. It was amazing how similar the feeling is to getting a tattoo.

So, husband and I have been talking for some time (read: years!) about getting matching sparrow tattoos. There was no particular symbolism to it, but it was the one thing we could both agree on. Although, I have some personal symbolism here. When I left my abusive ex-husband, the first thing I did was buy a necklace that had a bird flying out the cage. The necklace broke, and I was heartbroken. Husband wonderfully replaced it with an even stronger necklace of a bird flying out of a cage. It means freedom, escape, personhood, ownership over my own destiny to me.

Additionally, if you look up the meaning of the sparrow, it “is associated with freedom, undying love and lifelong commitment to a single person” in addition to “loyalty, sacrifice and bonding.” I think that is rather fitting as well. “Swallows were associated with sailors and legend has it that the swallows were responsible for carrying the souls of the sailors to heaven.” Also, fitting.

I said that ours are the same but different. Mine is a pure line outline and his has shading. The birds are also in different poses. I think that works well. We approached commitment in different ways, but ended up in the same place. Finding individuality in the way we love each other.

Also, mine has a line of text. “L’appel du vide.” L’appel du vide is a French phrase, which literally means the call of the void, but it used to describe the feeling one has standing at the edge of a cliff and the uncontrollable urge to jump. That is love and life to me. Always looking for the moment to jump – trying new things, going off the deep end, experiencing life in ways that are sometimes not in my best interest, falling in love by jumping in head first.

I really like it. And I like that I have mine on my left upper chest facing my heart and he has his on his right upper chest facing his heart. That way, face-to-face, they are in the same spot. It makes me think of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

So… here they are:

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