Growing up, my dad had a rule. “You can’t get a tattoo. If you do, I will make you get it removed. Unless, that is, you join the army and can shoot a seagull in the eye from a mile away, or you have a near-death experience.”
On July 12, 2011, I rode my bicycle to the camp I worked at. On my way home, I rode down a hill, and stopped at the bottom. I looked both ways, and there was no car coming. I started to turn left when I got hit by a car going ~55 miles per hour. I completely shattered the windshield, and when the driver stopped, I was ejected back onto the road. The doctors in the emergency room were absolutely perplexed when I arrived, because they all agreed that I should have died, and they were amazed to release me 4 and a half hours later with only 16 stitches, a concussion, and a chipped tooth. During my recovery, I was angry and confused. A couple if days after my accident, I received cards from my eight year old campers. One of them drew a giant paper crane, and said, “if you fold a thousand paper cranes, you’ll get better”.
Not being able to read, ride a bicycle, or put stress on my body, I cut up an old sudoku puzzle, went on YouTube, and learned how to make a paper crane. By the end of the day, I had a laundry basket full of black and white paper cranes.
I kept making paper cranes, even after I made a thousand, and I ran into a dilemma. What do you do with paper cranes once you’ve made them? A girl in my class had committed suicide the same day I had my accident, and I brought a purple crane to her wake. Her family could not have been happier the moment I presented them with this crane. Something clicked in my head right there. I started giving them to people and hiding them in random places for people to find. I started making art with them, and they became a major part of who I was.
This tattoo is symbolic of my accident, and could not represent me any better.