Jellyfish Tattoo: Tattoo Art Inspired by Father

Daddy's Little Girl - Jason DevaunA father is the most important man in a girl’s life. (Photo by Jason Devaun)

With all my tattoo art, I have tattoo stories. As someone who has more than a few tats crawling up her arms, I am always ready to enlighten with the magic behind each and every one of them. However, my favorite story is the one that goes with the jellyfish tattoo across my forearm.

I am one of those people who dream almost every night, but most tend to be dreams that feel like regular days in waking life. I dream about getting ready for work, and then I wake up and actually get ready for work. Sometimes, things feel repetitive and mundane.

One night, I had this dream where I was getting a colorful jellyfish tattoo. The tattoo artist in the dream had no face. No one spoke, but there was a certain understanding in the heavy silence that the jellyfish represented loyalty to family.

Jellyfish are the only animals that stray far, far away from home and still find their way back. When I woke up, I researched jellyfish facts and traits. Nowhere did it state they were loyal. I thought it was strange, but let it go. The dream just felt so real.

A few nights later, I had another dream where I had the jellyfish tattoo. Nobody addressed it in the dream. It was like it had always been there. I woke up again and researched jellyfish, wondering what it meant, but came up with nothing. The next few months I had these scattered dreams, but they were all different. Sometimes, I repeated the first one – getting the tattoo by the faceless man. Sometimes I was explaining that the mysterious “jellyfish are loyal” mantra from my subconscious was the reason that I had the jellyfish tattoo design. Sometimes, it was me doing regular things, but with a jellyfish tattoo on my forearm.

This went on for six months, until one night I had a dream of my tattoo artist, Steve, tattooing a desk on my stomach. In the dream I said, “Wait! I don’t want this tattoo!” He kept going, the buzzing sounding like a million insects flying around my brain. “It’s okay,” he replied, as he kept tattooing, “after this one I’m going to give you that jellyfish tattoo. It’s going to bring you and your family wealth and good luck. It’ll also bring health and fortune to your dad. It’ll be worth it.”

When I woke up, I immediately called Steve and told him I needed an appointment to get a jellyfish tattoo. I didn’t explain why. I didn’t tell him what I wanted it to look like. “That’s interesting. I’ll draw something up, and we’ll mess around with it when you come in.” When I showed up to his shop, I was expecting that we’d spend a lot of time perfecting the stencil. I, of course, wanted it to be perfect.

But when Steve pulled out the jellyfish tattoo design he had, I almost fell over. His sketch, the idea from his brain that escaped through his fingertips, looked almost identical to the one I had been dreaming about. I told him it was perfect. While he was tattooing me, I told him the story behind it. That my dad’s health had been getting worse, and that it might be crazy, but my dreams kept telling me this jellyfish tattoo design would bring him health and luck. I was willing to try it.

Liz Grear - Jellyfish TattooMy jellyfish tattoo. (Photo by Liz Grear)

A few months later, my dad got approved for a surgery that, (fingers crossed!), will help him live free of pain. I’m not saying it’s thanks to the jellyfish tattoo, but I’m also not saying it isn’t.



About Liz Grear

Liz Greer, MFA, teaches creative writing, tutors students, and dabbles in ballroom dancing, book binding, paper making, and playing hopscotch between Chicago and New Jersey. She dreams of running a writing workshop in a prison, because she believes words can change things. Maybe not all things. But enough things.

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  1. Pingback: Tale Of The Tribute Tattoo

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