The meaning behind my tattoos

Growing up, my parents always warned me to never get a tattoo. They were completely against them. They still are, really. And for years, I didn’t even consider getting a tattoo.

But then something changed and I decided I really wanted one. Just a small one, to see what it was like. And it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. After that first one, I got four more tattoos. Because it does get easier once you’ve had the first one. No, I don’t do it because I like the feeling (absolutely hate it). But I’m no longer afraid of getting it done, which is quite freeing and makes it so much easier.

When people tell me I will regret it when I’m older, I just think of all the reasons I had for getting these tattoos. Even when I’m old and wrinkly and they don’t look as good, those reasons will still exist. I’ll still be able to look at the tattoos and get that feeling that I get when I look at them now, knowing I have lived a good life.

So, here we go. The meaning behind all of my tattoos (With pictures!).

Crescent moon

My first tattoo – and quite possibly my favourite. On my left shoulder, I have a tattoo of a crescent moon. I chose this one partly because I knew it would take less than five minutes (in case the pain was really bad), but I mainly got it because of what a crescent moon stands for; femininity, creativity and personal growth. This tattoo was at the start of my second year as an au pair and it symbolises how much I’ve changed as a person since moving out of my parents’ house and to a new country.

Like you’re running out of time

Next, I got this line on my upper leg. It’s from the musical Hamilton (one of my all-time favourites) but it’s also a reminder to not always overthink things (as I have a tendency to do). Most of the best things in my life happened because I stopped thinking and just went for it.


This flower on my hip is my only tattoo that doesn’t really have a meaning behind it. I purely got this one because I think it looks pretty. It was also the most painful one. It took about four hours to get this one done (which still isn’t that much compared to some tattoos) and it HURT. Not just because of the placement, but also because they had to do shading with this one, instead of just drawing a line.


On my ribs, next to my heart, I have an arrow with five feathers, one for each member of my immediate family. The meaning behind this one is; follow your heart and take your people with you.


My most recent tattoo is this semi-colon on my wrist. Let me just say that it’s not because of 13 Reasons Why. I know that there’s a whole movement behind this symbol and that people with mental health issues sometimes get it as a reminder that we are the ones that decide whether we continue our story.

I love that idea – of us being the author of our own story. I also got it as a reminder that we’re the only ones that get to decide what happens in our lives, what relationships end, which ones we want to keep going, etc.

That’s it. Those are all my tattoos. For now – I already have some vague plans to get a flower tattooed just above my elbow…

Do you have any tattoos? What do they mean? How do you feel about tattoos in general?


  1. 24 June 2020 / 2:44 pm

    I love the meaning behind your tattoos, and the one on your hip is gorgeous! My parents always said not to get tattoos as well. They still cringe whenever they see mine! haha. I have 2 at the moment. The first is on my shoulder. It is kind of a heart swirl design with the words ‘I met my love before I was born’ It’s kind of for my husband, because we have such a close relationship that we are always saying that it if such thing exists, that we were together in another life and found each other again. We just celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary.

    The second is on my left upper arm and is symbol collage from my favorite bands albums over the years. They’ve been my favorite for 14 years now and I got the tattoo after traveling to see them in 4 different cities over a 6 week period. I haven’t decided yet if I will add to it when new albums come out. I’d love to, but it looks perfect as is, and is done in a way that it can’t really be added to.

    • maartjevansandwijk
      10 July 2020 / 11:30 am

      Aw, that’s so sweet! I love that story <3 And congratulations on your 10th wedding anniversary! <3

  2. Twinspirational
    11 October 2019 / 4:14 am

    I love the meaning behind the arrow, it’s so sweet. And I guess everybody has regrets with their lives. What’s important is that they won’t or don’t linger on it.

  3. 10 October 2019 / 4:54 pm

    Totally loving your tattoos and especially after learning about its meanings. All of them looks amazing and I like the arrow and crescent moon tattoo best.

    • 11 October 2019 / 10:37 am

      Thank you <3 The crescent moon is definitely my favourite because it was my first one 🙂

  4. 10 October 2019 / 4:51 pm

    Totally loving your tattoos and especially after learning about it’s meaning. They all look amazing and I love the arrow and crescent moon tattoo best.

  5. Fatima D Torres
    10 October 2019 / 2:40 pm

    I love the semi-colon one. As a writer and a person who has always enjoyed reading others’ works, it’s beautiful to see that others appreciate the meaning behind the semi-colon.

    • 11 October 2019 / 10:36 am

      That’s definitely part of why I got it too – I love writing and really wanted something to symbolise that!

  6. Bindu Thomas
    10 October 2019 / 12:33 pm

    I love your tattoos. its wonderful how you have meanings have attached to each tattoo.

  7. Ruth I
    10 October 2019 / 10:08 am

    I really like the concept of your tattoos. It suits you very well and it’s super stylish. I am in love with them.

  8. 10 October 2019 / 6:09 am

    recently i’m considering having tattoos but i would want to have a tattoo it only has a meaning

    • 10 October 2019 / 8:43 pm

      Take your time deciding! 🙂 If you do get one, I would love to hear what and where ^^

  9. Michael David Oyco
    10 October 2019 / 2:47 am

    Its kind of cool but just for me I think there are better ways to express yourself maybe? Some of my friends are having regrets on having them especially when age is catching up. What do you think though?

    • 10 October 2019 / 8:43 pm

      As I briefly talk about in the blog post, I don’t think I’m going to regret them because of the reasons behind them. Yeah, they won’t look as great when I’m older, but those reasons will still exist and the tattoos will be a reminder of the life I’ve lived! 🙂

  10. 9 October 2019 / 1:01 pm

    I also have a tattoo at the back of my neck. It’s a Japanese characters meaning love and hope.

  11. 9 October 2019 / 12:58 pm

    I love tattoos and the meaning behind most. All of mine represent someone or something that has impacted my life m

  12. 9 October 2019 / 10:43 am

    Pretty tats, I like those on your hip and I can imagine the pain you had to undergo to get those!

  13. 9 October 2019 / 9:15 am

    I love all of your tattoos. I know my daughter would be jealous of the Hamilton one. But I appreciated the kind of less thought more action you talk about here. It’s so important to really live to not get bogged down so much with the worries of the world that you stay motionless. That is worse than just doing something.

    • 10 October 2019 / 8:41 pm

      Most of the best things in my life happened because I stopped thinking and just did! The tattoo is a way to remind me of that and to keep doing it 🙂

  14. Catherine Santiago Jose
    9 October 2019 / 8:43 am

    Wow, they are all beautiful and I love it most especially when I know the meaning behind it.

  15. 9 October 2019 / 6:48 am

    Tattoos are a personal choice and can be very supportive of a person’s growth. This is how they are for you! Bravo!

  16. 9 October 2019 / 12:00 am

    I love your tattoos! My parents hate them as well, still do but it’s a part of my life!

  17. 8 October 2019 / 7:00 pm

    I have never (at least not yet) found something that I want to have tattooed onto my body, but the closest I have come are “Rise and rise again until lambs become lions.” or “Still I Rise.” Those are tattoo possibilities for me. Both symbolize perseverance and overcome obstacles & prejudice.

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