I shall not live in vain…

Submitted by Katie:

I got the tattoo when I was going through a series of events I ended up losing a large number of those who were close to me. I got to a point where I was absolutely miserable and couldn’t find a good reason to wake up in the morning. I work in dorms and during my hard times some of my residents who I’d helped quite a bit throughout the year saw through my “I’m fine”‘s and would come to me and would talk to me about all the different ways I’d helped them. In the midst of everything piling up it just reminded me that despite whatever BS I’ve gone through if I’m still able to wake up in the morning and help make someone else’s life better then my own will always have meaning. (The little flurries you see around the text are from a dandelion that’s on my back.)

Literary Tattoos: Not In Vain Emily Dickinson

IF I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
- Emily Dickinson, Not In Vain

Comments

  1. janella says

    got the tattoo when I was going through a series of events I ended up losing a large number of those who were close to me. I got to a point where I was absolutely miserable and couldn’t find a good reason to wake up in the morning. I work in dorms and during my hard times some of my residents who I’d helped quite a bit throughout the year saw through my “I’m fine”’s and would come to me and would talk to me about all the different ways I’d helped them. In the midst of everything piling up it just reminded me that despite whatever BS I’ve gone through if I’m still able to wake up in the morning and help make someone else’s life better then my own will always have meaning. (The little flurries you see around the text are from a dandelion that’s on my back.)

    IF I can stop one heart from breaking,

    I shall not live in vain;

    If I can ease one life the aching,

    Or cool one pain,

    Or help one fainting robin

    Unto his nest again,

    I shall not live in vain.

    - Emily Dickinson, Not In Vain

  2. dai says

    Very touching. I hope the dark days are behind you, and am glad you had such friends to come to your aid when you needed it.

  3. jayli says

    hey i love your tattoo. i am about to get three dandilions on my right shoudler. i love your tattoo. i was wondering if you had a pic of the dandelion itself.

  4. eli says

    I love the quote and the whole story behind your tattoo…I have been looking into getting a dandelion tattoo and was wondering if you have a picture of it… :)

  5. MoLLY MoNTGOMERY,200 says

    whoever you are, whereever you are,

    do me a favor(just kidding.)

    But, seriously-send this to the Oprah show.

    at times typos get me. Molly

  6. katie says

    haven't been back to the site in a while…but this is my shoulder.

    thank you all for the kind words- i'm having much happier times now and it still helps remind me of how lucky i am these days and how i can still be motivated to help those who aren't as fortunate!

    i've got a photo of the back and those of you who'd like to see it just email me at [email protected] and i'll send it to you!

  7. says

    Emily Dickinson is one of my favorite poets…I love this tattoo…and I really like your website, this is the only one of its kind…dedicated specifically to literary tattoos…nowadays, textual tattoos are getting more and more popular….great job!

  8. says

    wow, this is beautiful.

    a local choir in my town that I was in, recently sang this at our finale.

    as a song, its odd and tiptoes around melodies like they're erratic and playful.

    its beautiful, and so strange.

    but all in all, you've executed the poem and the quote in a wonderful way thats suited to you.

    and there's no better use for words. (:

  9. jess says

    i think i have been through this site about 5 times and seen all the tattoos but i always come back to this one. the quote in and of itself is beautiful, both as a tattoo and as a quote, but the dandelion seeds floating off in the wind makes it an incredibly beautiful tattoo.

  10. ABBY says

    YOU ARE A PERSON WHO DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE. YOU SHALL NOT LIVE IN VAIN. I CAN TELL YOU THAT YOUR LIFE IS WORTH LIVING AND YOU DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. I LOVE TATOOS IN PROFOUND WORDS. YOUR'S IS UNIQUE. LIKE YOU!

  11. Möhammad says

    A beautiful work of art. I'm not sure if the dandelions were meant to be connected but I think they tie in with the quote very, very well. The way in which each and every one of one's thoughts (with/without one's consent or knowledge) can have a hand in potentially altering someone's day/month/year/life is uncanny.

    Keep a smile on!,

    Möhammad

  12. says

    Admirable story. I was searching google images for "Making someone's life better" and this is were I ended up. Thank you for being so transparent. Reuben 02810974094330

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