About a month ago I got my first tattoo. For a long time I’ve always wanted one but A) I was scared of the pain of getting a tattoo, B) I’m a “I don’t want to spend my money on anything” kind of person, and C) I didn’t know where on my body I wanted my tattoo.
If you follow me on any of my other social media sites, then you probably know how much I love the “Avatar: The Last Airbender” series. I LOVE IT. Ask me any question and I can reference the exact episode where something occurred and what kind of character development happened for any character. It’s a sickness I guess but that show has helped me so much since I was young. The show was extremely well made, and the creators did their research when it came to using Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Indian culture. Along with the many religious ideologies. Not only was it meant for kids but adults can also enjoy the show as it has elements that really make you think about life and how to view the world in a philosophical manner. You don’t see that now days with a children’s show.
My favorite character in the series (aside from Uncle Iroh) is Prince Zuko (Prince of the Fire Nation & later FireLord).
When “Avatar: The Last Airbender” aired in 2005, ( I was 13 at the time) I immediately gravitated towards this character. In the first season of the show, Zuko was a very angry person…it’s a long story. If you want to know, I suggest watching the series. It’s really worth the watch. But being a thirteen year old, I too was angry a lot so liking the character was natural. But one thing that caught my attention and I’m sure it did for you as well when you looked at the picture is that Zuko has a scar on his face. Long story short, his father burned his face as punishment (his father is a horrible person) and throughout the show Zuko struggled with his face. For a long time Zuko would see his scar and feel anger and sadness. His scar owned him and it controlled every aspect of his life in a negative way. Even though the scar on my back isn’t visible the way his is, thirteen year old Andrea understood completely the feelings Zuko was going through. This was also the first time I had seen someone with a disfiguration that realistically was going through what I was. I felt this indescribable bond between a fictional character because of this. I know it’s kind of weird but I felt like Zuko understood. Later in the series Zuko began to accept the scar and realized that it shouldn’t remind him of negative things, it should show him of what he’s lived through and what has made him strong. THIS. THIS WAS SO IMPORTANT FOR ME TO SEE. For everyone to see for that matter. It made me realize that my scar is proof that I’m alive, that I am strong, that I am the person I am because of my experiences. Zuko helped me understand that.
Zuko didn’t get to this realization on his own, his Uncle Iroh (who by far is the wisest, funnest, amazing character in the show) helped him on this journey. Prince Zuko and Uncle Iroh are the best characters in this show, they’re so well written and if you disagree…I’ll fight you about it. AGNI KAI RIGHT NOW. No, but seriously watch this show, you’ll understand. Anyway, in the storyline when Zuko was a kid, Uncle Iroh gave him a pearl dagger.
One side of the dagger says “Made In Earth Kingdom” which is a joke how everything says “Made In China”. The other side though, which is pictured above says “Never Give Up Without A Fight”. Zuko held on to this dagger throughout his life and there are two episodes that center around this dagger and the meaning it has held for him.
This inscription, this is what my tattoo is. It summed up who Prince Zuko is, what Prince Zuko means to me, and what outlook I should have on life. So, I got my tattoo.
I decided the placement of the tattoo because of one I saw a friend had. I thought it was nice and it’s easy to hide if need be for a job or a role in a show.
If you’re wondering, the language is called “Seal Script” which is an ancient form of Chinese. Today it’s only used for decorative purposes and yes it does say what it means. Literally all the writing in the show are actual Chinese/Seal, the creators took the time to translate everything so it’s accurate and this is another reason why this show is so well made. Everything has a purpose, and they didn’t just throw in random characters so it looks “cool”. Fun fact, if you know Japanese Kanji, you know that it’s Chinese characters. So some of the characters I can recognize and the meanings didn’t change much from Chinese to Japanese. So that was a bonus for me, guess my Japanese classes are paying off.
But seeing the first picture, yeah I was scared. It actually didn’t hurt that much, when the guy started I didn’t even know! It later was just really uncomfortable. But after, I wasn’t sore or anything and now my tattoo is perfectly healed.
I’m extremely happy with this tattoo. It embodies everything I love, and everything I know to be true about life. Prince Zuko may be a fictional character, but representation matters. He helped change my life, and for that I’m thankful.