I got inked last week. The permanence of the ink on my body frightened me, but I was intrigued. I planned for this inking before boarding the cruise ship, sometime after I stumbled on the Aham Prema mantra. Those words, which translate into “I am Divine Love” resonated right into the core of my heart and brought tears to my eyes. At that point, I knew that it was my mantra for life.

At the tattoo palour, I was overwhelmed with anticipation and it didn’t occur to me that I should triple check the typography of the Aham Prema letters. After bearing through the pain (which was totally bearable), I leaped off the table to admire the finished product of Matty’s, owner of Three Kings Tattoo. It wasn’t till much later did I realize that the last letter of both words didn’t look exactly alike. This wasn’t the fault of Matty, who did an excellent job with the tattoo, but mine because I failed to check it thoroughly. And of course, because I’m Miss Perfectionist, I was a little upset with the slightly smaller letter in the last word. However, I was reminded by my dear friend that not all things permanent are perfect in life.

In a recent letter from a dear friend, he copied this quote from Bob Marley to me about love:

“He’s/She’s not perfect, you aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect, but if he/she can make you laugh at least once, cause you to think twice, and if he/she admits to being human and making mistakes, hold on to him/her and give him/her the most you can. He/She isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s/she’s not thinking about you every moment, but he/she will give you a part of him/her that knows you could break. Don’t hurt him/her, don’t change him/her, and don’t expect for more than he/she can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he/she makes you happy, yell when he/she makes you mad, and miss him/her when he’s/she’s not there. Love hard when there’s love to be had because perfect guys/girls don’t exist, but there’s always one (person) who is perfect for you.”

Love is imperfect, and as much as marriages and relationships dissolve these days, I’m still a hopeless romantic at heart. Inking my body with Aham Prema, which are the words of the highest devotion of love, will serve as a reminder to me that through imperfection, we will always find something/someone that we will love for the rest of our lives.

Aham Prema.