Do you ever think about 2012 in terms of Harry’s (and then Louis’) tattoos? When they got them and what they got in the context of what was going on around them during that time? Because it’ll knock you flat on your ass if you think about it too much.
Harry’s star on 1 February 2012, perhaps a symbol more for himself that anyone else, as he got it 3 days after the official end of his “relationship” with Caroline, the first of his many public displays with women.
Harry’s “won’t stop ‘til we surrender” in the middle of June when Eleanor had come and gone twice and would come again for a hastily planned public trip to France with Louis at the end of month.
The hanger, “I can’t change” and birdcage with no door at the same time Harry and Louis were being publicly removed from each other’s lives, shopping for new houses as Eleanor and Louis went from flaunting their relationship to fans to flaunting it to the press.
And that all hurts in ways that I can’t really articulate. But then I think about how Louis was with Harry at Shamrock in LA on 8 September 2012 when I think Harry was beginning to plan his birds and it was just a week before Bullshit 1.0.
And I wonder how much they knew about what was coming with Taylor and Eleanor and the denials and the public stunts at public houses, and how the seemingly mad, emotional scramble to ink these things into their skin permanently was the best way they knew how to prepare and cope.
I wonder what made Louis go “Ok, yes, I see how this helps you” and decide to start getting his own. And how pretty immediately after beginning to get his own, they were thinking in terms of couples tattoos. The “It is what it is” and butterfly appear to have been planned, and I wonder if it was initially the first set they were planning on getting together?
That statement in the context of late 2012. “It is what it is” with that butterfly I think means you can’t turn back time and change. The knowledge and belief they were in it together, forever linked.
And then I inevitably wonder if the ship and compass was even planned at all. Or if it was an impulsive, emotional choice they had to make in order to make it through the next 4 weeks.
I think a lot about how the ship and compass may have been their first really reckless, almost selfish declarations to each other, and how much joy and even relief they got from those tattoos in the first weeks after they got them.
While a lot of us may think of 2012 with fondness, it was exceedingly difficult for them. And I think these first tattoos were an especially significant act.