I have a tattoo of a spiral. It is difficult to explain why I have a tattoo of a spiral, and what it represents. All I can really say, when pressed, is that it represents the experience of time for me.
I read this post in the Futility Closet today, and realized that the post almost describes my tattoo. The post claims that about 5% of people have an image or map of numbers in their mind. This is fixed for their life of thinking about numbers. Everyone who has this kind of number map in their mind has a different one; no two are alike.
I have this image, not so much of numbers, but of time lines. Your typical time line looks like this:
It is a straight line. As though every new experience in your life were truly new and unique, as though days never repeated themselves in slightly different variations, as though progress were not always two steps forward and one step back. To me, time is more of a spiral; we make some progress (outward) but we repeat many of our experiences over and over. Time is spiraling outward, repeating, going back upon itself, yet progressing outward, as we are ever growing. Therefore, a true time line should look more like this:
I always felt like a circle in a square peg, until I got the spiral tattooed on my arm. Then I felt a little bit better. Why? No idea. I guess I had this map of time in my mind, and I had to let it out. I have this theory that everyone is just a little bit crazy, and that's what keeps us sane.