The broken daisy story

A broken daisy has become my thing.  It’s doodled in the margins of my notebook, it’s the image on this website and it’s permanently inked on my body.

Like a lot of good things, the broken daisy started with a book. I’m obsessed with “Looking for Alaska.” I like books that mean something, that have characters who are inherently flawed, that have plots that are realistic, that have language that’s crude but beautiful. I think that’s how life is.

That’s why I decided to carry a piece of “Looking for Alaska” — and a piece of my friend Bryan — with me for the rest of forever.

When I first paid my deposit for my tattoo, people started asking me why I was getting it. It’s too reckless, right? And does it actually mean something?

Yeah. It does. A broken daisy is in the cover art of “Looking for Alaska,” which is about youth, innocence, grief and looking forward. The daisy reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from the book: “We can never be irreparably broken.” Alaska, with her recklessness and her crazy plans for the future, is not irreparably broken. And Miles, her friend and the book’s narrator, is not irreparably broken when she dies.

Because sadness hurts. It hurts a hell of a lot. But sadness only leaves us temporarily broken. You might not be the same afterward, but you’ll be OK. Humans aren’t ever irreparably broken.

I think the biggest lesson in life is that we need to live for a whole lot more than just a job or a degree or a single goal. There’s so much more. I think there’s beauty in the broken messiness that life often looks like. I think we should live for laughing so hard that we gasp for breath, live for jumping into pools when it’s freezing, live for eating ice cream in the wee hours of the morning, live for running across wet grass, live for making the decision to love life and ourselves and our friends despite all of the brokenness.

So yeah, it means something. It means a lot.


My friend took this photo minutes after I got my tattoo.

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