sisu


#00004: Two Quick Definitions of Sisu

Here I just wanted to introduce you to the idea of sisu.

Pronounced see-so or sis-oo, it’s tattooed there on my arm. In my maternal grandma’s handwriting. It’s the only tattoo I have – the artist said it would be like a 10-minute cat scratch. He was right. Leviticus Tattoo in Minneapolis, if you’re curious.

Sisu is a Finnish word that doesn’t have a direct translation in English.

I think of it as “strong willed one” and “strength of will, determination, perseverance against all odds” namely because those were the first written down definitions of it I ever saw.

Recently and wonderfully it’s become studied by positive psychology researchers and so the definition has expanded.

Regardless, my 100% Finnish Grandpa always said my 100% Polish Grandma had lots of sisu. Much more on that later. But for now, enjoy this new addition to your vocabulary.

Sara Hefty, Age 31.

Photography by Molly Marie Photography.

And here’s my non-professional real-life freshly-inked selfie from March 30, 2012: