The moment my first tattoo was finished I was overwhelmed with happiness. Not only had I gone through something that was really rather daunting (I was having it done in what many people say is one of the more painful areas; my rib cage). I had also inked something that had a great personal meaning to me onto my body forever (which is a really long time!) and in a strange way I felt free.
The tattoo in question was my first (and certainly not my last) and was the quote “choose life” from Trainspotting. In the context of the book/film it’s part of a speech that the main character Renton makes about his heroin addiction. He is discussing how pointless normal “life” is in his eyes and at the end of his damning attack on society he states, “I chose not to choose life, I chose something else,” aka heroin. My reasons for having this put onto me are twofold. Part of it purely because I love the film and that speech; it’s always resonated with me and gives me chills whenever I hear it. There’s just something about it, the phrasing, the repetition, that has always fascinated me
The other reason however, is far more personal. Having “choose life” as a constant part of my being, reminds me everyday that although sometimes my depression drives me to feeling suicidal and often makes everyday things like getting out of bed or going to uni difficult. I have to be strong and not give up.
It’s hard, but every time I see my left ribs I remember; I have to choose life.