As I mentioned in my last post, and just like in life, I want to transform a bit of what TransforMATTion is all about. I spent a lot of time over the last 6 years dedicating my life to understand the process of health and what that means, primarily physical health, and I will speak more in a later post about some emotional and mental capstones I achieved along the way (beyond self-confidence), but health is just a vehicle for trying to live a better life — and so there is no point unless you, in tandem to understanding and engaging in wellness, to remember to live during that period.
People have differing opinions on tattoos, and I got my first tattoo when I was 18 of the little worm character from Labyrinth. It was my favorite movie — but it represented something from my childhood that reminded me of a positive time. I would watch that movie and think about Sarah journeying through the Labyrinth, meeting amazing friends along the way, and conquering her fears. As an 8 year old, I didn’t really fixate my developing brain on those concepts, but I think that is what drew me to the fantasy of the film. From there, I got a few more tattoos, all with significant meaning to me (a quote from upward bound, a quote from a Harvey Danger song, the walking Labyrinth from French lore).
Recently, I have invested more into the process of adding picture representation onto my body. I have to admit, even at I write this, I have bundles of fear about what people will think as they walk by me. I have been thinking a lot about that process and will write another post about loving what you do, what who loves you and reframing how we interact with the world, which is something that even losing weight and getting stronger has taught me.
One of my more recent pieces as a half sleeve depicts 4 parts as a montage about striving in the world; A heart, a skeleton, a broken clock, and a burst of ink inside of water.
Everything we do is a decision based on your heart and your head (the skeleton). I have always struggled with how people perceive me, which is a move from our head, not how we want to interact in the world. The clock is a throwback to my high school quote “Even a broken clock is right twice a day” — meaning that even when it feels you aren’t moving forward, look on the positive side of things, as there is still something to appreciate right now, and the ink (not blood) is about jumping in; you don’t know what direction (dilution) that you will go in, but sometimes you have to trust in a process (your heart). The skeleton is busting out of the heart to also show that we have to have both, and it can be a challenge to figure out which way to go. You usually can’t go wrong when you go with your heart, but at the same time, the world we live in a tacit-based head kind of world.
So, as an image, Blood to Bone means doing what you love, do it from the inside out, use both your head and your heart; our bodies are made up of both, but don’t get too caught up in either. The subtitle: we all die trying to get it right is sort of an homage to everything that I do. I try to do everything with finesse and perfection, but that is now how life is, so in many ways this tattoo is about reminding myself that perfection is not the destination. Additionally, as someone who would describe himself as a pessimist that can be judgmental, it’s a reminder that EVERYONE is trying to get it right, and even if I don’t understand it, or they are not in a place I think they should be, everyone is moving through this world the way they know how to from their perspective.
A lot of layers exist for this (which makes sense because I tend to put an incredible amount — often too much — thought in everything I do), but positively ironic this is a reminder to be passionate and let life unfold sometimes without trying to control everything.
If you are a person who cares about what others think — remember that everyone is trying to get it right, and even if people put on a better face, everyone comes from a place of head and heart. Some are balanced in different ways, some even smother out one or the other, sometimes people try to avoid either, but it is inherent that we all have it. So, do something you are passionate about. In my last post, I spoke about values and passion — and the only way you will transform your life is if you find something that opens your eyes just a little wider. We can get bogged down in the everyday work, classes, family, expectations, money that we don’t have, looks we wish we had, insecurity, the terrible stuff going on in the news, but at some point in our day we have to attach ourselves to something positive that we love.
To me, having it written on your body helps remind me of who I am just a little more and distances me from caring so much what the outside thinks.
Find passion, find passion as it courses through your blood and runs into your bones. Live. Because at the end of the day, we’re all doing the exact same thing.