Sunday, July 17, 2016


When I was twelve years old my middle school started offering Japanese as a foreign language. Interested in things like manga and a super fan of Nintendo, I made the jump after one year of Spanish. I would study it for the next six years. My first year we learned lots of basic kanji and four of those would be the elements; fire, water, earth and air.

I’m not sure what it was about the kanji for fire but I was drawn to it. My sister loved astrology so I knew I was an Aries and a fire sign. When we learned the elements symbols we talked about how the Japanese call it “hi” when it’s just talking about fire but when talking about what the element represents; force, energy, moving; they call it “ka”.
And ka became my favorite kanji. When we had brush calligraphy day, that’s was always my kanji. Nothing else would do. And at the age of 15 I put a quarter into a machine that dispersed cheap jewelry. A string necklace came out with a charm, the kanji for fire. I wore that necklace every day for years until the charm broke. I declared that it was meant to be and the minute I turned 18 this would be tattooed on me.  

But when I turned 18 I worked in a bar and this was the time that all the party girls thought kanji were “totally awesome” and came in with kanji tattooed on their lower backs. Half the time I’m not even sure that they knew what they had written on them. And I didn’t want to be another girl with a kanji and people laughing because they think that I think it means “love” when it really means “fart”.
So I waited a very long time and forgot about me and the things I wanted. Until last week when I decided I was going to start doing the things that I wanted, not just try to make everyone else happy. And I figured what better than a reminder that I am capable of being forceful, of moving and not standing still. I have passion and ambition that will drive me forward. That my energy and spirit won’t let me be stopped. Fire.

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