Kindness – a tattoo

Editor, Rosalie shares the story of her most meaningful tattoo yet. 

What does kindness mean to you?

Kindness for me means rejoining a weekly yoga class as a way to enjoy movement without seeing it as a punishment, something that I had been doing for way too long. It means starting counselling and commiting to it for almost a year. Kindness is turning my back on years of dieting and self hate in order to learn to be self compassionate and love my authentic self.

My yoga class begins and ends with a quiet moment of gratitude in a seated, comfortable cross legged position. The way I cross my legs or place my feet together, depending on how I am feeling that days, means my left ankle is always visible to me especially when I am bowing my head on my prayer-formed hands in thanks to my teacher and my body.


My yoga teacher encourages us to choose an intention for the class, a word, thought or feeling to carry with us while we stretch and move but also for the week ahead. The word I always settle on is kindness. Not only to help me be kind to my body in the moments when I move through our sun salutations and flows, but also as I begin to look around the room and compare my yoga poses and ability to those around me in the village hall where we practise. My chosen intention is also for and towards myself always, whether I am at work or home and more importantly to those around me too.

I wanted to commemorate how far I had come, the positive changes I have made and my progress with the best way I know how – a tattoo. I already had the perfect gap on my left ankle, and an artist in mind who specialises in fine line work.

The artists at Francis Street Tattoo in Leicester have always been warm and kind to me and Ellie-Mae was no different. She helped make the whole experience so positive and she is super gentle, which is always nice. It was as if the ink, the tattoo machine and artist were all working together to pour kindness into my skin. To add power and meaning into a word that had come to be so significant to me. 


Now settled in and healed, my kindness tattoo pokes out at me at the end and beginning of my class or when I practise at home. It is visible below the cuffs of my  jeans and my favourite dungarees, as a constant and strong reminder of my intention, the person I am and can be, as well as a promise to myself and others. The old English script signifies how far I have come, my history alongside the important work I am continuing to do with my mental health but also how far I have to go.

Most of my tattoos have no real meaning but this one makes up for them all.

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