Once I had my inspiration for my tattoo, the decision to move forward with getting it was an easy one. I had been considering getting a tattoo for the past few years, and especially since my boyfriend and I made the move to the Bayview neighborhood, known for it’s hip bars, quirky restaurants, and plentiful breweries, it seemed like the permanent and perfect way to commemorate this new chapter of our lives!
Thinking of ideas for the design, I knew that my tattoo had to include nods to a few things that make me, me.
- My heritage – I am 100% Finnish so it was important to me to showcase that in some creative and meaningful way.
- My femininity – I absolutely love sparkles and jewelry so I wanted to include some “girly” qualities as well.
- My goals/future self – I wanted it to be motivational and a reminder or war call for myself to continue to work toward my goals.
I’ve always known that if I would ever move forward with getting a tattoo, the word “sisu” would be included in some capacity. It’s a Finnish word that I’ve known and used all of my life, and one that holds a lot of meaning for me and fellow Finns.
According to Wikipedia, the definition of Sisu is…
…loosely translated to mean stoic determination, bravery, guts, resilience, perseverance and hardiness, expressing the historic self-identified Finnish national character.
A few keywords they’ve included is determination, resilience, and this idea that Finnish people utilize this word as another means of expressing their identity as Finns.
According to Urban Dictionary, the definition of Sisu is…
…a unique Finnish quality.
…the word used to typify the Finnish spirit.
…a concept that is at the heart of how all Finns view themselves.
…a certain feature of value considered by Finns to be typically Finnish.
Basically it’s about being strong, determined, gutsy, resilient, diligent, confident, empowered, a little crazy, but overall, Finnish. Knowing that I wanted to incorporate the word “sisu” as a reminder of my inherent Finnish identity, but also as a reminder to feel confident, strong, and empowered, I wanted it to be somewhere that I could easily view it. This helped me decide that I wanted it to be written across the inside of my wrist.
When I went in to get it done, the tattoo artist mentioned that typically when people get something done on their wrist, they have it facing outward so it’s easy to show off to other people. Truthfully, I knew this tattoo was more for me than it was for anyone else, so I wanted to be sure that every time I turned my wrist over, I was able to see and read “sisu”.
Now that I had decided on one piece of the tattoo, I wanted to expand beyond the word itself and add a little something extra. Being in love with jewelry like I am, I had started toying with the idea of getting something done that looked like a bracelet and extended all the way around my wrist.
This is where the girly part comes in. I liked the idea of the word connecting up onto my wrist, and if you’ve been following along, you know I don’t shy away from bracelets that have a bit of bling, embellishment, or bows. And now the tattoo really started to take shape as the scripted “sisu” would then travel all the way around my wrist and into a neat little bow at the top. It’s a permanent arm party! The bow bracelet in the picture was actually a gift I received after I got the tattoo, but I love it’s similarities to my tattoo and I frequently wear the two together!
When friends and family started to notice my tattoo, my brother reminded me that from a symbolic perspective, bows can also take on the meaning of a promise, which I hadn’t previously thought of. But looking at it from that perspective, it only makes me love the tattoo even more. Now I know this is a personal promise and reminder to myself to be strong, confident, resilient, empowered, diligent, determined, etc., everyday and in whatever I do. It may be simple and slightly imperfect, but my tattoo really captures everything I wanted it to and feels appropriately me.