“and i laugh at myself for using such a cliché quote title for a blog post” – julia ann jaramillo
going into the second week of 2017, i can’t help but feel like great things are imminent. if the actual dumpster fire of a year that was 2016 is any indication, though, it’s only up from here.
speaking of 2016 (although i’d much rather not for the rest of my days lol), i can honestly say that i do not know how i would’ve gotten through it without the people nearest and dearest to my heart – my family, friends, and tommy shelby (for providing me with hours of drama and intrigue to distract me from my own predicaments.)
it’s an indescribable feeling to know that no matter what situation you find yourself in (or where), and no matter how poorly you feel about the world and yourself, that someone will always have your back and think you’re the greatest person in the world – or in my lucky case, more than a few “someones.”
i learned a lot last year, about myself, about what means the most to me and about the unwavering strength of familial bonds – and it is for this reason that i’ve decided to get another tattoo (SORRY, MOM!)
okay, maybe some of you reading this won’t understand my reasoning, but that’s ok!! because i do and it’s my body and all that jazz!! (but i also penned an extremely sappy and probably unnecessary rationale for all the internet to see)
this will be my fourth piece, but it will undoubtedly be the most detailed and (dare i say) meaningful.
but first, a quick recap:
1. the roman numeral III, for my brother, my sister and i
2. an eight-rayed sun, for my filipino mother who sang “you are my sunshine” every night before bed
3. 09.30.1978, the wedding anniversary of my parents, whose marriage and friendship prove that true love really exists
while each piece represents something/someone incredibly significant to my life, the fourth tattoo brings them all together.
AND this brings us to the title of this post! flowers have surrounded me my whole life. okay, i’m sure you’re wondering, “but julia, what do you even mean? flowers are literally everywhere, we have all been surrounded by flowers our whole lives.” well, you got me there. but some of my earliest memories involve my parents and i heading to the flower mart in downtown la in the wee hours of the morning, just so they could get the freshest cuts to arrange for the house, my aunts/grandma and my dad’s dearly departed relatives at the cemetery. they even arranged the flowers for my brother’s wedding and made corsages and boutonnières for my friends and i in high school. so it’s no surprise that i, like most of the world, have only fond associations of flowers.
this next tattoo is symbolic of many things, first and foremost the fact that their beauty stems (pun very much intended) from that which is considered “ugly” – the soil and its microscopic inhabitants – as they are nourished by the elements. likewise, i feel that i have blossomed, and will continue to blossom, even in the most wretched of circumstances, thanks to the care of my keepers, who will forever be immortalized on my skin. i’ve commissioned the wonderful u.k.-based artist yaana gyach for the task, and i can’t wait to get this done in london when i’m there in february. (seriously, her work is unparalleled and i’m so lucky she had availability when i emailed her.)
my floral arrangement is dedicated to those who have helped me from day one (literally – and i mean that, not “literally” as in “literally kim you’re being so rude”):
- FOR MY SISTERS – a rose for my big sisters, jessica (a.k.a. sis/cashew) and connie. i’m so lucky to have grown up with not only one, but two role models to guide me in all aspects of life and be my number one fans in everything i had a fleeting interest in. thank you for making me laugh in the most inappropriate situations, letting me be your pseudo-baby and entrusting me to be an example your own babies as their godmother (i’m making a slight assumption, cashew.)
- FOR MY FATHER – orchids for dad, who has been low-key a little jealous for a couple of years that i got a sun tattoo in honor of mom…lol apparently orchids represent “refinement, charm and thoughtfulness” – well i guess you’re 2 for 3? haha just kidding! you are everyone’s best friend, including mine, which is a rare quality, and one that i’ve striven to emulate my whole life. these orchids are a reminder of the care you’ve put into the lives and countless flower arrangements you’ve created over the years for all the people you love.
- FOR MY MOTHER – a lily for you, mama, though you’re probably the least jazzed that i’m doing this. did you know lilies are symbolic of motherhood and rebirth? i’ve been reborn countless times throughout my life, and i have you to thank. you are our rock, our strength, our fearless (LITTLE!) protector, and yet you retain all the purity and grace of the flower you love best.
- FOR MY NINANG, OUR ANGEL – a sunflower for my other mother, my sweet “godmother,” and everyone’s newest guardian angel. Tita Marivic, the lack of your presence is felt each day by every single one of us – but the unwavering love and kindness you exemplified saturates the room every time we get together, and reminds me on the hardest days how lucky we were to have you (though the time you spent with us was not nearly enough.) i think about you everyday, and i could go on and on about how much i miss you and appreciate your influence on my life, but i’m sure i’ve said enough to you on my own in prayer (see, mom, i told you i pray sometimes!!) thank you for giving me four more sisters, the benefit of the doubt always, and the type of love that can only be granted by an angel on earth such as yourself. until we meet again, tita.
i’m honored to be able to carry my heroes with me forever, wherever i go. my sister/in-house pagliacci has always said, “well, you’ve gotta laugh to keep from crying.” if the earth truly does laugh in flowers, then these will serve as a reminder of resilience and joy that we have all shared together – in full bloom eternally.
well, if you’ve made it this far, you’re probably: a) my mom, b) my dad or c) my sister. in which case, what’s for dinner? and should i let the dogs out into the yard now? text me!