Life is rife with hardship and struggle, and having a reminder that you are capable of surviving it is powerful. This is why the phrase “refuse to sink” makes for such a compelling tattoo.
In the case of this phrase, “sinking” is a clear allusion to maritime culture, where the fear of sinking to the dark abyss of the ocean was ubiquitous and very real.
As such, anchors are often juxtaposed with the phrase “refuse to sink” to emphasize its origin and to give a symbol to the omnipresent threat of failing to rise above adversity. In the most optimistic of designs, the anchor and phrase are also accompagnied by birds, the ultimate symbol of hope for weary sailors. Birds add the notion that you can break free from whatever your anchor is, to fly far, far away to safety. It is no wonder that this tattoo has lasted through the generations!
These design elements, the phrase “refuse to sink,” the anchor and occassional birds can be adjusted to fit any aesthetic that jives with you. Whether your heart goes for extragagant, ostentatious calligraphy and hyper-realistic imagery, or more clean, minimalistic lines and silhouetted symbols, these elements will easily follow suit with anything your heart can imagine.