Recently I took the plunge and went under the needle for my second tattoo. For years I wanted one but could never decide on what to get. I went through years of designing and scrapping and nearly booking in, then chickening out, but last December I finally committed.

I ended up getting an illustration of David Bowie, that my good friend Rachel designed for me, on my left forearm. If you’ve watched any of my vlogs, I hope you have, then you might have caught a glimpse of him.

I’ve been a big fan of Bowie all my life, I do love him dearly and when he was snatched away from us in January 2016, I have no problem saying I was gutted.

Despite this awful start, I went on to have the best year of my life. Yes the world basically fell apart and all the best celebrities decided they didn’t want to be a part of it anymore, but for me, it was amazing.

 

Blasting barriers and overcoming fears

In 2016 I managed to do a couple of things I never thought possible. I overcame anxiety and depression enough to be able to push myself to travel solo. I moved out of my dad’s house and into my own flat in a city I love, I got my first ever tattoo, I met amazing people and I finally found a balance and happiness.

That’s what my David Bowie tattoo represents to me. Not a fanatical obsession with a dead singer, but a year that I never want to forget and that changed me in a lot of ways. However, even though I know that that is what it means, I still get people questioning my motives.

 

Meaning and Pride

When I got my Bowie, I knew what I wanted it to represent to me, luckily I did love Bowie, so I could expertly fend off questions like ‘what does it mean?‘. People take it at face value and then move on their way.

I’ve also been lucky with my newest addition, because this small bee now represents an entire, united community that I am very proud to be a part of. When the Manchester attacks happened, I was fast asleep in my bed, apparently there were sirens, helicopters and endless traffic going past our flat, but I heard nothing.

When I woke up the next morning to a phone screen full of ‘Are you ok?‘ messages, I was devastated. It’s strange how an attack like that can feel so personal when it is 10 minutes down the road from your home, even if you or those you know are not directly involved. Even now, there’s scaffolding up around the entrance at Victoria Station and just the site of it makes my stomach drop.

I’ve never been so proud of anywhere that I’ve lived, then I was of Manchester in the days after the attack. We showed how communities can come together, even in a huge city like this. I was proud to be able to attend these minute silences and spontaneous get togethers. In the first few hours after the attack, I was too scared to leave my flat, but the spirit and passion of the people of Manchester made me feel included and safe.

That’s why I got the bee and I why I don’t feel the need to justify why I got it. I’m part of a collective, one that is around 20,000 strong and we are proving that we really are Stronger Together.