I don’t have any tattoos. Some days I feel like one of the only people I know without one. Even my daughter wants one.
But there’s more to say than just that. I want one and have for many years. I already know where I want it to be (the outside of my right thigh, about 6 inches down from my hip), and what I want it to say.
One simple word: guerrera.
Guerrera is the feminine form of the Spanish word for “warrior”. To me, this word tattooed on my body will tell the world how I see myself. I’m a fighter. I don’t give up, no matter how difficult life becomes.
The placement of the tattoo is very specifically chosen. I want it high enough on my leg so that it is covered by skirts and regular shorts, but low enough that it can be seen when I wear running shorts. When I’m running, that’s when I am most in need of the reminder that I am a warrior. It’s where I fight back the demons of doubt and insecurity and fly like the wind. When I run, I am free, but that freedom is something I’ve fought for. I am a warrior.
So, why not just a tattoo that says “warrior “?
Spanish is my second language. I was mostly fluent by the time I was 16 when I travelled to Spain. Over the years, I’ve lost some of my fluency, but I’ve never stopped speaking entirely. I have loved the language most of my life; I find it to be extremely musical and expressive in ways that English simply isn’t. For me, the word guerrera says more about me than the word warrior.
I don’t have a plan for getting this tattoo anytime soon, but I would like to have it finished by the time I’m back in good enough shape to run a marathon. I’ve always hoped to do that before I turned 50. I have a couple more years.
Getting a tattoo scares me because of the pain I anticipate it causing. I hate needles! This is the one thing that keeps me from doing it, I suppose.
One day I will overcome this fear as I have so many others. On that day I will cry out for all to hear:
¡Viva la guerrera!