“Untreated substance abuse is often treated as ‘cool’ and as sort of a counterculture badge of honor, a way of proclaiming, ‘Look out, dullards, I’m still dangerous.’ Likewise, sobriety is sometimes looked at as a fertile ground for the has-been and those who may have lost their edge. I was always scared of losing mine, and so, with ninety days sober, I got a tattoo to show I was still all about it. However, one of the gifts of recovery is authenticity, finding your true self. Today I know that I don’t care so much about being cool, much less edgy. I’ve seen too many good friends chase that image to the gates of prison, insanity or death. I still like my tattoo, but it means nothing to me now other than being a reminder that I’ve found my authentic self. And my authentic self is someone who wouldn’t get a tattoo.

–Rob Lowe, Love Life

I have to say, I’m a huge fan of Rob Lowe’s writing. He’s very perceptive, and it’s clear that being a super-famous Hollywood celebrity gives you a strange and interesting perspective on the world.

Often, a tattoo does seem like something that is tied deeply to a sense of authenticity — of revealing something important about ourselves, through our choice of design.

Would your authentic self get a tattoo — or do you already have one?

If not, what design would you choose?

If so, why did you choose the tattoo you chose?

Gretchen Rubin is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller The Happiness Project—an account of the year she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier—and the recently released Happier at Home and Better Than Before. On her popular blog, The Happiness Project, she reports on her daily adventures in the pursuit of happiness. For more doses of happiness and other happenings, follow Gretchen on Facebook and Twitter.


Image courtesy of Anthony Tran.