dum spiro spero

Literary Tattoos: Latin Cicero

This is Jane’s tattoo.

It says “dum spiro spero,” Latin for “While I breathe, I hope.” This is the South Carolina state motto. When I was in third grade I went on a field trip to the State House, and they read the phrase to us off the State Seal; ever since then I’ve felt really attached to the idea. It’s a representation of where I’m from, which is a place I have mixed feelings on, but it’s my roots no matter what. And I really love the philosophy; it’s always a reminder to have faith that things will get better. Anyway, I was toying with the idea of this tattoo for a long time, but what really sealed the deal is what I discovered when I was researching the phrase. It was officially made the state motto on March 26, 1776 — I was born on the same date 215 years later.

Why white ink? As I said, I’ve got mixed feelings on my home state. I plan on moving away from here once I’m done with school. The ink makes this tattoo just for me, not for anyone else. It keeps me mindful of where I come from, so I don’t forget some of the values, lessons, and memories I have from this place, but it doesn’t scream that at anyone else.