Tattoo Stories #3: Om + Speaking Truth
Truth is a funny (obnoxious, complicated) thing.
What is true for you may not be true for me.
The truth is not always based on facts (which can’t be argued) – the truth is always relative.
Finding truth is just as hard as actually expressing truth, and some of us go through that journey by documenting the chapters of our lives on our bodies, through tattoos.
Let’s continue that journey today.
Tattoo #3: Om + Speaking Truth
(please enjoy my very non-professional photo of my own tattoo)
- Age When Tattooed: early 20s
- Tattooed in: Connecticut; USA
- Body Location: Base of my Neck
- Time to Complete: 20-30 minutes
Have you ever said something out loud, hoping that you could convince yourself it was true?
My first tattoo came at a time when I was learning to feel emotions, fully and deeply.
My second tattoo came after my first real heartbreak, helping me close that chapter of my life with confidence (and reminding me that love is always both wonderful and painful, so you should do it anyway).
I got my third tattoo less than a year after my second tattoo – to this day, that’s the shortest time I’ve waited between tattoos.
The tattoo itself is a purple Om/Ohm symbol, located at the base of my neck. You guessed it – there’s a story to go with it. 🙂
Why the Om/Ohm symbol?
My fellow Yoga enthusiasts and friends of Asian origin will recognize the symbol.
The Om symbol originates from Hinduism but can be seen in numerous religions and spiritual beliefs, including Buddhism and Jainism.
The sound of Om, and chanting it, has evolved to symbolize many things and have many meanings.
The best description of Om I’ve ever heard is, “the sound of the universe creating itself.”
Considered to the first and most pure sound in our known universe, Om could also be called “the ultimate truth.” Chanting Om is believed to help you find your own ultimate truth or the deepest level of Self-knowledge possible.
With Om, there are no lies, no suggestions, no additional meanings. Just Om. Pure Om.
Why put it at the base of your neck?
Sticking with the Yoga theme, the location of my Om relates to the system of Chakras in our bodies.
The location of Vishuddha, or the throat chakra, is right where the tattoo is located.
The throat chakra is the center of creativity and self-expression. It’s also the external gateway to the world since it is through here that we consume food and drinks into our bodies.
After the end of my then-longest relationship, even though I was still riddled with depression and anxiety (the story of my life from age 18-29), I began to contemplate who I really was and what I wanted.
Who am I? What makes me happy? What do I stand for?
Communication has always been a central factor in my life: writing, talking, singing, acting … etc., but was I actually expressing my true myself?
Getting an Om tattoo (the connection to true Self-knowledge) at the location of my throat chakra (home of creativity + self-expression), it serves as a reminder to never stop searching for the truth, especially about myself. Or said another way, never let anything get in the way of letting the truth flow.
Why get the tattoo in purple?
This is the point where I break from tradition. The throat chakra is normally associated with light blue.
I chose purple because, in my eyes, it is the ultimate combination of opposites.
Cool, serene blue blends with passionate, intense red to create purple. The best of both worlds. The blend of both human extremes.
I strive to find such balance in my own life, though I openly admit to failing regularly.
This may not surprise you, but getting an Om tattoo on my throat chakra did NOT instantly enlighten me or help me expressive myself in the most truthful way possible.
Finding and expressing the truth been a journey – a journey I am still on. I believe that every creative person experiences the same journey, with varying intensity.
We all have plans that we hope to execute, but we also know that there are no guarantees. No certainties in life.
So we stay the course, seeking the truth and following it where it leads, even if it doesn’t make sense at the time. The truth doesn’t have to explain itself.
Speaking the truth means speaking uncomfortably.
(Speak the truth, even if your voice cracks.)