The ampersand (&): I spent a good chunk of my life believing that I didn’t need anyone. It was how my mom raised me, particularly after I lost my father to suicide. My mom was a single working mom throughout my younger years, and we had to learn to be tough. I had to learn how to take care of myself while she was gone all day, either at work or out of town– sometimes for one day, sometimes for a few months. I took care of myself, and I didn’t ever ask for help. In the process of trying to be independent, I turned cold and bitter. Life’s been a lot different since I graduated high school, and I’ve come to learn that you simply can’t stand on your own forever. Humans aren’t designed to live in solitude, at least emotionally we’re not. That’s why I wanted the ampersand. It’s a conjunction. It joins things together. We’re meant to join together.
“buck up, tug boat”: It’s a phrase that’s been with me for a little while, especially the past year. I heard it once, and it stuck. Whenever I get in my manic depressive moods, I always hear a voice in my head saying “buck up, tug boat.” Stay strong, keep your head up, keep your feet on the ground and keep moving forward. I thought placing it on my foot was an appropriate place for that reason as well– all you need is to take that first step.