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Annual Growth Rings

Updated: May 2, 2021

On my birthday many years ago, I decided to get my first tattoo. You expect something original, deep meaning, interesting back story,...but none of those! I randomly saw an image on Pinterest and brought it to my friend, asked her just do it for me. But my approach was different.

My tattoo will grow with me, like a tree. Every year or every significant event in my life which contribute to my growth, I will mark another ring on my body to celebrate it. Start from my left shoulder, it's gonna grow through my chest, cascade down my abdomen, intertwine with my thighs,... then cover all my body! There will be years with smooth round rings, years with little wavy rings, years of chaotic rings... all thickening and darkening with age. One day, doctor can call time of death by counting rings on my body and estimate how old I am without looking in my birth certificate cause I remember Hermann Hesse say:

"When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured."

But then after 48th ring, I stopped growing. I stopped drawing ring on my body. Now I just feel empty, like a hollow yew, too old to brag about rings of stupid youth thing.



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