Every tattoo has a story and for the month of May, Mental Health Awareness Month, we’ll be highlighting tattoo stories rooted in an individual’s mental health journey. (Last week, you guys met Keisha, for example.) For our second story, you’ll meet Elvis, and learn how a phrase his father used to say to get him while completing his math homework (!) eventually became his personal mantra as well as his first tattoo.
When Elvis was just 17 years old, Elvis left his family to join the military. When he came back home to visit, his father had asked Elvis to take him for a drive one night. Naturally he had agreed, eager to make his father proud now that he had his driver’s license. But a friend of Elvis’ asked him to come over to his birthday party on the same night he was meant to drive his father—and he decided to go to the party instead as he hadn’t seen his friends for a long while.
The next morning, Elvis received a slew of text messages asking if his father was okay, which came as a surprise, considering he hadn’t been with his father and wasn’t sure what was going on. When Elvis checked in with his mother, he learned that his dad had been in a car accident the night before. Elvis rushed to the hospital to see his father who was in a medically-induced coma, but sadly his father eventually passed away. Although those around him told him time and time again that it wasn’t his fault, the guilt began to consume him.
He decided to get a tattoo that would anchor him out of that negative mentality. He got the saying “vouloir c’est pouvoir” tattooed above his heart, a French saying that translates to “wanting to is being able to.” It’s a phrase that helps him understand that wanting to get help and be better is a big step in the right direction.
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. If you need some advice or want to talk to someone in an open but confidential environment, contact your local mental health organization for all sorts of support and guidance.