Indrani Chatterjee’s “for this”

“When I got my tattoo, I took a picture of it and put it on Instagram with this caption:

Thank you, world,
for rain and sun,
for life and love
for dreams and triumphs,
for your ceaseless beauty,
for this.

I first heard about Love Letter To the World from my dear friend Kyle, who was one of my RAs when I lived in the dorms last year at the University of Kentucky. He got the phrase ‘seven different faces’ tattooed on his arm, and explained to me that for him the seven faces refer to the seven people in his family, as well as to the seven continents of the earth. He showed me the poem online and I fell in love. It was and continues to be the most beautiful thing I have ever read, and it both heals and breaks my heart every time I read it.

It is not often that we think about the world and all the blessings it gives us. We wake up by the light of the sun, and we fall asleep to the sound of the rain. We are constantly chasing our dreams and living lives filled with love. We cordially appreciate small things of beauty. We need the world like we need each other, but we are almost never truly aware of it.

But the world is always thinking about us, loving us, and forgiving us. And at least once in a while, we have to embrace it and say ‘thank you.’ That’s what I found was done in the most beautiful way by Frank X Walker through his poem and by Kurt and Kremena through their art. So to get a tattoo of the phrase ‘for this’ was my way of thanking the world for everything.

I decided to get the tattoo on my arm for a variety of reasons. The first is that it was easily visible and would spark some great conversations, as it has! The second is that I have a self-harm addiction, and I thought that if I had something beautiful on my arm, I would be less inclined to cut it. That has half-worked, but I am getting so much better, and I thank God and the world for that daily. It’s certainly not easy to live with bipolar disorder and all the chaos that comes with it, but without it, my life would be completely different, and I honestly would not want it any other way than it is right at this moment.

‘For this’ is a phrase that is said commonly in our language; it is a fragment, and it is quite small, but it packs a punch and it’s so meaningful. It reminds me that whenever I walk barefoot through campus, or have an amazing conversation with a friend, or watch the golden leaves fall from the ginkgo trees, those things are what life is about. And I’m overwhelmed by this.”

Indrani Chatterjee's "for this" (photograph by Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova)

Indrani Chatterjee’s “for this” (photograph by Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova)