What's So Good About Being a Fish, Anyway?

During my time a tattoo artist, I had plenty of people come into the shop asking for Koi Fish tattoos. Yes, when done correctly they are beautiful pieces, but the more people came in, the more I tested them. What's the symbolism behind the Koi tattoo? What does it represent? What does it mean to you? I wasn't being a bitch, per say, but I wanted to know what it was about the koi that was special to this person- it helped me draw them a custom one, too. I wanted to know they hadn't just seen a pretty picture on the internet and wanted it tattooed on them; I wanted it to mean something. Most people knew about the koi that wanted one tattooed, some of them I had to educate. To break it down, when swimming 'down', the koi represents that there are still hardships for the person to face. When swimming 'up', the hardships and difficulties have been overcome, so the koi represents strength, perseverance and bravery. Beautiful symbolism, which can be conveyed in a beautiful manner.

The Chinese legend states that the koi fish swam upstream, even jumped up waterfalls, and when it got to the end of its destination, was transformed into a Dragon as a reward for its perseverance.

Kinda sounds like a salmon, doesn't it? I mean, I don't mean to disrespect and ancient Chinese symbol of strength, but hear me out on this one. The salmon starts out in a stream or river, swims all the way out to the ocean, where its body adapts to the saltwater. It spends a few years playing around in the ocean, and when it fully matures, makes that journey upstream to where it was born, adapting back to freshwater, where it will spawn and die.

Hold on. Spawn and die? And this is supposed to be a beautiful, encouraging thing, that the salmon swims upstream to do so? Not only that, but the salmon decides not to do this until it's older?

I'm sorry, but based on my life story thus far, I'm throwing the bull**it flag on the koi and the salmon. Bold move, I know, but try to follow me on this one.....

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