It’s an ampersand.
And of course the first question is “What does it mean?”
I’m a bit of a smart-ass, so my answer is “And.”
Because that’s the beauty of the ampersand – it stands in for one of the best words in the English language.
And connects ideas together, so it bridges the gaps between us. It points to the infinite possibilities (someone thought it was an infinity sign when I first drew my tattoo out) of what has come before – when a sentence begins with and – as well as what might come next – when the sentence trails off. And also confines us by defining boundaries and sets, particularly when we use it in terms of couples, “Brad and Angelina.” And pairs us with others to accomplish a goal, average, giant, and tiny. And it orders our lists and lives by telling us what is last and generally important.
And my reasons for tattooing an ampersand contain all these ideas, plus a little of Amanda Palmer’s song “Ampersand,” and the idea that I like to work with people to accomplish what holds importance, and my fascination with everything that has both/and aspects, especially when it comes to finite/infinite dualities embodied within a single reference.
And more than I can coherently express, ampersands make me happy and remind me to look beyond myself because in some respect we all connect back and that’s what shapes us.
And I perhaps the question remains.