"Our perception and attitude toward any situation will determine the outcome." Or, "See other wrist."
If you’ve read my ‘About Me’ section, you might remember that once upon a time, during a particularly dark time in my life, I decided to get a ‘breathe’ tattoo to force me to do just that. I am nothing if not logical, with a slight tendency toward drama. Then, with the intention to not at all resemble the two child stars with imploding lives who have ‘breathe’ tattooed on their bodies, I went with ‘inhalexhale’ tattooed in my handwriting on my wrist so that I can see it daily and remember to do just that. Proudly, and somewhat defiantly, I showed it to Mom who promptly asked me, “Why did you get Whaleshark tattooed on your wrist?"
Yeah, not the result I was aiming for. But it did give me a great website name, so there’s that. And, to this day, when I’m freaking out about something, Husband will just say, “Whaleshark, baby. Whaleshark!” and it usually pulls me out of my head so really, the tattoo works. Right?
Anyway, for years now, I’ve been talking about getting a second tattoo. “What do you think if I got another over here?” I’d ask Husband as I hold up my other hand. And Husband would always calmly reply, ‘See other wrist?’” And I’d childishly respond with a flip of a finger - you know which one - and put off getting another tattoo.
But last year, my friend and I decided to get tattoos as a reward for our work in the art show last fall. I decided to augment ‘inhalexhale’ with a watercolor tattoo. A splash of color surrounding the words, to remind me to breathe and to force me to see the beauty in the world. Yeah, I know it sounds like dreck. Whatever. My body, my dreck!
Now, my friend is a like a mother duck. Having raised three children, she is an expert at nudging along; pushing me gently in the direction she thinks I should go, leading me down a path that would best for me to follow. Most of the time, I find it amusing. I am without direction so being nudged has led me to places I never thought I’d be. It’s because of her nudging that I ended up at the fair last year, selling my trees. It’s because of her that I ended up in Washington DC in the first week of this year in 16 degree weather wandering around with a smile frozen on my face under the bundle of scarf. And it’s because of her that I found myself in a tattoo parlor in Pennsylvania getting a tattoo that looks nothing like I wanted tattooed forever on my wrist.
Now, to be clear, I don’t regret getting my tattoo. I am unhappy with the circumstances.
And I’m not mad at Mother Duck. I am PISSED at myself.
Pissed for not speaking up and saying, “I need a moment before you come at me with your permanent needles of pain.” For not saying, “Dude! Show me exactly what you’re planning to put on my body forever.” For trusting in the beauty I saw in Mother Duck’s tattoo and it thinking – assuming – he could do, would do for me what I he’d done for her despite the differences in style. He did not.
But that is not on him! I’ve been talking since the seventies and I’m apparently still unable to speak my feelings. THAT IS ON ME!
And my tattoo is not horrible. It’s just not what I envisioned. The details are not as precise as the image I showed him, the color not as varied. But, if I’m being fair, neither is the original tattoo, ‘inhalexhale’. That one is in my own handwriting and is somewhat muddy and inconsistent - and apparently looks like ‘whaleshark’. And that first experience was similar with my tongue-tied feelings and overwhelmed emotions - and I ended up loving the result.
My point? I do not regret my tattoo. It is not the perfect tattoo I imagined but I do have a reminder of all my doubt, my second-guessing, and my failure to speak my soul. Which, ironically, was the F-ing point of the tat in the first place. I do not regret it. In this, my year of positivity, I am choosing to see it as my beautiful mistake. A bright image of my insecurities and doubt, a forever reminder on etched upon my skin.
I was going to post a picture of the tattoo – of what I wanted vs. what I got but it’s not the point of this post. The point is to remind myself – to remind you – that every little thing you do is etched on your skin, on your self. We are all covered in scars. Some little, some big, some more visible than others. And regardless of the result, take these lessons, these beautiful mistakes and learn from them. Embrace them and grow forward, not back.
Or, as my loving Husband so succinctly said: “Stop looking at it, ej. It’s going to be there when you die."
My name is ej. I'm a girl. I say that because with the short hair and the short initials, folks aren't always sure. More brilliant insights to who I am in About me