Written by: Jaclyn Popola
Oh, the things we do for love. When my girlfriend was in high school, she got her first tattoo--a heart on her upper arm along with a banner containing her best friend's initials in it. In an incredibly courageous move that I could never have dreamed of replicating, she brazenly showed her new ink to the girl, only to discover what she kind of already knew: that her crush was unrequited. A few years later, the initials were covered over with a few small flowers.
With the exception of the word "mom", names of family members, or memorials in the form of tattoos, no name is really safe when placed inside a heart. Some people even believe that the act of tattooing the name of your significant other is a curse, a jinx practically guaranteeing that you will break up sooner or later. This doesn't stop a huge majority of the population, however, from getting hearts--with or without names--inked on their skin. There is no logic in love and besides, just because a relationship doesn't last doesn't mean it didn't happen.
There are many variations of the standard red heart that we are most familiar with: the sacred heart, with a flaming apex and crown of thorns, is a religious devotion to the divine love of Jesus Christ; the winged heart, indicating that love gives you wings; an anatomically correct version of the heart that literally beats inside our chests; a chained or scarred heart, a broken heart, a heart under lock and key, or a combination of any of the above.
No matter which way you cut it (or design it, reshape it, replace it, revamp it) the heart is a symbol of love. Depending on whose tattoo you're looking at, love can conquer all or love can bring pain, love can destroy you or it can set you free. But love comes into our lives regardless, unbidden and not always expected. Destiny deposits it's gift at our front doorstep then leaves the rest to us. Whether you let that love make you or break you is entirely up to you.