Permanent Inspiration

Have you ever thought about what inspires you? Whether it be a person, a goal you have set for yourself, or a phrase out of a book, inspiration is a motivating force. A popular way to pay homage to what inspires us is to get it permanently marked on our bodies as a tattoo. Personally, I do not have any tattoos, but I was recently asked “What quote would you get a tattoo of if you were forced to quickly choose a tattoo?” This made me think about what inspires me and what I would want for an indelible phrase on my skin.

Almost immediately, I had a quote in mind:

“To be great is to be misunderstood.” This quote comes from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay entitled “Self-Reliance” and I feel that it speaks to me because many individuals feel as if they are misunderstood, yet those misunderstandings have the ability to make a person stronger.

Since literature is a source of inspiration, I deemed it appropriate to compile a list of quotes that I would have no qualms getting tattooed on my body. If the quotes speak to others as well, let it serve as inspiration, whether it means reading a new book or committing and getting a new tattoo.

Without further ado, here are 5 quotes from books, essays, or poems that I would permanently place on my body:

1) “Force the sun to overcome adversity in order to rise” (The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, p. 136)

2) “A wyf is Goddes yifte, verraily. / Alle other maner yiftes, hardily, / As londes, rentes, pasture, or commune, / Or moebles, all ben yiftes of Fortune, / That passen as a shadwe upon a wal” (The Canterbury Tales, “The Merchant’s Tale” by Geoffrey Chaucer)

3) “When the fruit is ripe, it falls. When the fruit is despatched, the leaf falls. The circuit of the waters is mere falling. The walking of man and all animals is a falling forward” (“Spiritual Laws” by Ralph Waldo Emerson)

4) “Thy blemishes amend, if so I could: / I wash’d thy face, but more defects I saw, / And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw” (“The Author to Her Book” by Anne Bradstreet)

5) “It is awfully easy to be hard-boiled about everything in the daytime, but at night it is another thing” (The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway)

These quotes are some that personally resonate with me, but obviously not everyone draws inspiration from the same places. So, my question is: What inspires you?

– Amber Bush

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