I finally did it. Something I’ve dreamt of doing for years finally became a reality. The first time I heard about the Friday the 13th specials, I was 16-years-old and I met someone with a collection of tattoos – one of them being a 13. My lucky number, of course. Since then, I have passed every Friday the 13th asking myself “am I gonna do it this time?” I’ve brainstormed ideas and locations. At this time, I don’t want anything visible (mostly because my job won’t allow it), but at least until I find my career path, they’ll stay hidden.
Friday, July 13th was quickly approaching. I asked myself the same question I have been for years and didn’t think anything was different this time. Until one night I went for a long drive and I was listening to one of my favorite alternative bands – Cage The Elephant. I realized I only knew a handful of their songs and I wanted to hear more. I searched their name and hit shuffle. After listening for a while, I heard a song that I particularly liked and wanted to make a mental note of it to add to my library later. I looked at the title of the song: Lotus.
Okay, stick with me, I’m sure you’re wondering why I let a song decide what tattoo I should get. As whimsical as that sounds, I’m definitely not the spontaneous type and it takes me longer to make decisions than it takes to do anything else in life. I’ve thought a lot about the lotus flower, especially within the last year. It’s a symbol for new beginnings, for strength, purity, beauty. Lotus flowers grow in the mud in water, they bloom in the daylight to be one of the most beautiful known flowers.
The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud – the obstacles of life and its suffering. The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one. –Goldie Hawn
The lotus is a symbol of who I am and who I aspire to be. It reminds me to keep going and not let life’s obstacles discourage me. It reminds me that I don’t have to be perfect in order to be happy and successful. It reminds me that there will be hard days, but that I always have and always will come out of them stronger and wiser. I often get caught up in the day-to-day negativity and trivial issues and have to remind myself not to react a certain way or become overly anxious. This is still something I’m working on. I admire the Buddhist lifestyle and practices and hope to improve my way of thinking and behaving to line up with the ways of Buddha. The lotus flower is a symbol of yoga and meditation, something I am going to work on incorporating into my every day life.
When people have asked me in the last few days “why?” I will admit that it has been hard for me to articulate everything. There is so much “why” to tell, and I could keep going. If you’ve made it this far into this post, I appreciate you listening to my rambling. It’s sometimes difficult to put myself out there and explain my reason for doing things, I’ve lacked the self-confidence to do so. But it is my goal to continue to grow and do things for myself and be unapologetically me. There will be people who don’t like what I do, who think I’ve made a mistake, or who just simply don’t like it. But… it’s not for you to like, now is it?
No, it didn’t hurt at all!
I walked into the tattoo shop equally nervous and excited. I showed them a graphic I found on Pinterest that I tweaked a little bit to get the design I wanted. They printed it out and taped it to my back so I would get an idea of the size. My tattoo artist was very patient with me and comforted me when he said “it would be bad if your tattoo artist was annoyed at you for telling them what you want,” when I had him change the size and asked endless questions. It was all happening so fast that I couldn’t quite grasp it. In my head, I’m thinking “do I get a debriefing, is there a video, what do I need to do to prepare myself for this life-changing experience?” But it was actually pretty anti-climactic. I sat in a massage chair and scrolled through my phone to distract myself from the anticipation. As it was happening, it felt a little scratchy, but definitely a 1 on the 1-10 pain scale. It was over in about five minutes and that was it. Swelling went down by the time I got home and by the time I went to bed I couldn’t even feel it anymore. I feel like a total badass and I’m excited to get more of my tattoo ideas in the future.
“Each day we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” –Buddha