What do your knuckles say?
I get that question usually once or twice a week and usually from people that actually think having something tattooed onto your hands is wrong. When I respond, “HOLD FAST”, typically in a flat I-don’t-give-a-shit-tone I get a nod and “Oh that’s interesting”. Usually followed by “What does that mean?”
My stock response:
“My family has a very strong naval background and history. Sailors back in the days of sailing ships used to be very superstitious and thought that if you had HOLD FAST tattooed into there knuckles it would help to keep them from going over board during rough seas”
That is pretty much verbatim the response that I give to everybody outside of the closest of friends and family…and now YOU!!! It’s part of the truth and definately the easiest part to explain over the span of a 30 second conversation with someone that I could care less about.
Did you ever ask me to be honest?
The naval tradition is true. I’m not sure if any of my ancestors actually sailed of the old wooden sailing ships but I have had several family members that are either serving or have served in the Navy. The rest of us were either in the Army or the Air Force. I, the odd ball, spend four long years in the Marine Corps. But beyond that here is what it means to me and why I decided to place those words onto a part of my body where I can’t hide them: It means strength and the ability to keep moving forward no matter how bad life gets. It means to have inner strength and a character that doesn’t let yourself or others down. But if you do you are man enough to own your mistake and learn from it.
Life has been very difficult more often than not for me. And more times than not its been MY fault. I don’t blame the system or the people around me for my misgivings (most the time). I’ve taken great pride (I wish I didn’t have too) in being able to pull myself up no matter how bad it gets or how low my next “bottom” is. HOLD FAST means being a man, being strong, and being honest with yourself.