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Discrete Reminders: Sarah Przystar’s Meaningful Tattoos

Matt Vaghi

Graphic Designer

Throughout Sarah Przystarz’s life, her attitudes towards self-motivation and her family have been prominent and inspiring.

Hailing from Dartmouth, Mass., the senior Psychology major currently has three unique tattoos that each convey special parts of her life. When her sister got a tattoo of a tribal design with an embedded turtle during a trip to Hawaii in 2004, Przystarz admired the extraordinary ink and wanted to also express herself in a way that she had never done before.

In August 2009, Przystarz went to her local tattoo parlor in Dartmouth to receive her first tattoo.  After contemplating several tattoo concepts and designs, Przystarz finally decided on getting an image of a rose on her left shoulder blade with the word “Strength” eloquently written parallel to the flower.  Before, she had considered using the word passion and a star symbol, but it seemed rather cliche to her.

“[Strength] is a reminder of how strong I can be,” said Przystarz. “If you’re living the life you’re living, then you’re strong enough to get through whatever is going on.”

Although discrete, the rose tattoo reassures Przystarz that she has the ability to persevere no matter the circumstances. It’s not only engraved ink on her skin but an engraved idea in her conscience.

Przystarz’s next tattoo is that of a Celtic Sister Knot located on her left wrist. This same tattoo also is housed on Przystarz’s sister’s left wrist, emphasizing their invaluable sisterly bond.

“We’ve become closer over the years,” said Przystarz. “She’s my sister and I don’t know what I’d do without her.”

Although Przystarz mentioned that this particular tattoo bled quite a bit after it was jetted on her wrist, it is a permanent reminder of her sister that will be with her for the rest of her life. It is also special because it was her sister who initially gave her the inspiration to use tattoos as meaningful symbols.

Perhaps the most poignant of Przystarz’s three tattoos is the one located on her right side, just along the ribs. In 2006, her grandmother passed away. Last January, Przystarz decided to celebrate her grandmother’s life by having her birthday artistically sketched on her side in roman numerals. She even had it administered four days before her grandmother’s birthday, an early present for someone she truly loved.

“I wanted something for her because we were close,” said Przystarz. “I remember she took me to my first movie, The Lion King. I have a picture of her in my room and I missed her, so I felt like getting something for her.”

Even though the ink was exceptionally painful, the sacrifice was entirely worth it to keep a part of her grandmother alive in her world. Przystarz also mentioned that although her rose/strength tattoo may be her favorite, simply because it was her first, her grandmother’s birthday is perhaps the most moving piece of art on her body.

In the near future, Przystarz intends to get another tattoo that exemplifies her personality: a Scorpio symbol. “I want a Scorpio tattoo. I feel everyone gets their sign tattooed on them. It’s cliche, but I feel like if you were to describe a Scorpio, that would be me. I have all of the characteristics down to a ‘T.’”

The beauty of Przystarz’s tattoos is that they are discretely located so that she can make them her own without any judgment from others. While some individuals decide to immerse their exposed skin with symbols and words, others quietly have them tucked away for a more private meaning. Ultimately, Przystarz got each tattoo for herself to serve as reminders of what’s truly important to her. Sarah Przystarz’s tattoos will always be of profound significance to her perseverance and familial bonds, and will last her a lifetime.

Matt Vaghi may be reached at

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