a rooster and a pig

Here’s a little story about a rooster and a pig… or namely my newest tattoos. I consider tattoos to be incredibly personal: When I decide to get one, I don’t tell anyone what I’m getting until they are finished because I don’t want other’s opinions to affect my decision. I go alone because this is a gift to me, this is my thing. Also, I want to feel brave and bad ass; it’s such an ego-boost. And I get my tattoos at very pivotal turning points in my life. This past year has been incredibly monumental for me in all of the storms I weathered. From an excruciating break up to re-evaluating what makes me creatively happy, I have actually reexamined pretty much every facet of my life in one way or another over the past 2 years. Recently it’s come to calm(er) point. I feel more secure in who I am and what I’m doing than I have in years. The point is that I survived. I needed a marker, almost like a badge of honor for this achievement. Hence, the rooster and the pig.

mike ski - tattoo artist
I’ve always been a huge fan of traditional sailor tattoos, so I knew the style I wanted. Did you know that many sailors had badges of honor, such as an anchor means hope or a swallow means a sailor had sailed 5000 miles. I found this absolutely fascinating and dug deeper, eventually finding the rooster and the pig, which symbolize them often being the only survivors of shipwrecks. Because these are signs of survival, these animals are often tattooed on the tops of feet. I knew what I had to do.

rooster and pig tattoos
I went to Mike Ski of True Hand Society here in Philadelphia. The experience was absolutely AMAZING. First, Mike is a genius and totally understood exactly what I wanted. The day of my appointment was when I saw the designs for the first time and I absolutely fell in love. I actually didn’t find the tattooing process to be that painful (Mike is now the second artist to tell me I have a high pain tolerance), but the healing has been a bit interesting. It’s a little cold in October to wear sandals! Either way, I am beyond thrilled with this entire experience and cannot stop staring at my gorgeous new tattoos.

photos by Jojotastic

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest-based social media strategist, content creator, and former textile designer. Joanna is the founder and editor-in-chief of Jojotastic, a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress cabin, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style. Her work has been featured in Domino, CNBC, and Eating Well.

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  1. 10.30.13
    Andrea said:

    You’ve just inspired one of my future tattoos…
    A Pig.
    I’ve wanted one, a live piggy {regular not teacup}, for years and will someday have one but until then…
    Your pretty feet are prettier. Too bad winter is coming…But then you’ve just gotten through your personal storm, you are ready.

    • 11.1.13
      joanna said:

      you should totally go for it!

  2. 10.15.13

    Thank you for sharing this story! I never thought about it that way… but sometimes life does feel like a shipwreck! And instead of feeling bad about ourselves b/c of it… we should celebrate our strength for being able to get through it! I think we all go through crap thinking everyone else has it figured out… so I truly appreciate your honesty and for giving us all hope! Loved your new tattoos when I saw them on instagram… but now knowing the story behind them, I love them even more!! <3

  3. 10.15.13
    Erica said:

    Sorry to hear that you’ve been going through a tough time for so long; go you for overcoming it all! Love the meanings- both personal and historical- behind your tattoos :)

  4. 10.15.13
    Susan said:

    Very cool. I just got my first, and yes…it is an incredibly personal decision. Already thinking about my next! Here’s to survival + hope.

    • 10.15.13
      joanna said:

      xo! you should definitely go see mike for your next one :)

  5. 10.15.13
    Stacy of KSW said:

    What a fabulous story. I love your new badges of courage, rock those sandals woman!

  6. 10.14.13
    Quelcy Kogel said:

    I love it! My tattoo is also a personal manifesto, and it took me about 3 years to think about it before finally having it inked. I agree with the privacy element of it. I recently made the mistake of sharing an idea with people, and they all tried to dissuade me. We shall see! Congrats on your artistic new feet! :) For what it’s worth from afar, I admire all your efforts and creativity, and you only seem to add on one more amazing thing after another, so clearly you have landed on top!

    • 10.15.13
      joanna said:

      thanks so much for your sweet words, quelcy! can’t wait to see your new ink, too ;)

  7. 10.14.13
    Alecia Zasiebida said:

    Love them! I have been toying with the idea of a tattoo for years, but have yet to nail down an idea. I agree they are incredibly personal and I love the bad ass story behind yours (survival). It has also been the most trying 2 years of my life (this year especially), and I am still in that space of trying to figure out my creative side. Maybe once I get through it, I will know what tattoo I should get.

    • 10.15.13
      joanna said:

      absolutely! if i learned anything these past 2 years it’s that i just need to keep going until i come out on the other side. xo