My Own Tale of the Paper Crane

Ever since I was in elementary, I always came home with something scribbled across my wrist. May it be a list of homework that needed to be accomplished the next day, a short quote that stuck to me during one of my classes, or some random cute cartoon character that I made my seat mate draw.

I put these marks on my skin because I wanted to be reminded of something, and these random marks always got me through the day. Until recently, I made a certain reminder embedded on my skin quite permanently.

The idea of having a tattoo always fascinated me. Most people would fret over the meaning of their own chosen symbols, but I was more fixated on the concept of having a tattoo per se.

If you think about it, it’s an eternal reminder of how reality is. Its presence and permanence embody the everyday reality of judgement. It is inevitable that there are prejudices about sporting a tattoo – for some, it helps them determine your character as a person.

How many times have people branded tattooed individuals as drug addicts, criminals, and any other perilous labels out there? I sure heard this remark more than a couple of times from my family. On the other side of the scale, however, there are those who appreciate the art and the beauty of having a tattoo. There is awe that celebrates the bravery and art of getting one.

Either way, people will always have their two cents about it. But only you would truly know and fully understand what it symbolizes, and only you would accept all the crooked lines and tiny imperfections it permanently has. Only you will come into terms with yourself.

I think that is what my tattoo, in a very general sense, represents. It’s what I have decided to be reminded of every time I get the chance to look at it – to accept judgement as a part of reality, and the acceptance of my very own individuality.

It may be selfish to say that it’s a celebration of my own self, of who I am, and of who I want to be. But then again, this selfishness is justified by the fact that this symbol is imprinted on my flesh. It is a part of me.

I chose a paper crane as my first tattoo. It was inspired by the story that I loved since I was in third grade – the story of Sadako, a young Japanese athletic girl from Hiroshima who was diagnosed with leukemia. Her illness was one of the painful reminders of the atomic bomb.

A friend told her of a legend which states that if one is able to fold a thousand paper cranes, he is to be granted one wish. Sadako was able to make at least hundreds of the smallest paper cranes despite the shortage of paper during that time. She crafted paper cranes from the wrappers of gifts and food, receipts, and other hospital paper works.

She didn’t reach that one thousand mark, but her story of persistence, hope, and peace reached more than a million hearts, including mine.

I chose a paper crane to tell myself that I am 999 cranes short of having my wish granted by the gods. But that shouldn’t stop me from achieving the things I’ve laid out for myself.

I have one paper crane, and it reminds me to have enough persistence and hope to make my own wishes come true.

They say every little thing we come across life is put into place to tell a story, and I continue to choose those that will help tell mine.

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