Potential First Tattoo

So I’ve come up with a design for my first tattoo – which I really badly want, but am not sure when I’ll actually get.

Last night, my temporary tattoo kit came in the mail so I decided to test out the design, and the placement. I wanted to see what it would look like before I actually getting anything.

The tattoo ink is made from the pulp of a fruit called Genipapo, found in Panama. It is similar to henna in how it’s used – the gel-like liquid is squeezed out from a needle-point bottle the way henna is piped out like icing on a cake. I’ve used this product several times before so I’ve gotten used to drawing the tattoo freehand.

I feel like I did a pretty good job, except I got the arrow all crooked because of the angle I was drawing on. The temporary tattoo has developed overnight and it should get darker in the next half a day.

The tattoo design represents many things. Essentially, it’s the story of my life in a few symbols.

The semicolon (made from an enso, and the Fibonacci Golden Ratio), represents my lifelong recovery from mental illnesses; the enso (circle) representing “a moment when the mind is free to let the body create” which also represents strength, enlightenment and life while the Fibonacci Golden Ratio reflects my interest in art, as well as math – this I find beautiful because not only does the Golden Ratio helps artists create beautiful art, it also helps mathematicians do math. I like the intersection of the sciences, and the arts because of how much conflict there is between the two fields (especially coming from the sciences who claim that anyone who can’t do, are artists…). 

The curly brackets represents code – most codes are encapsulated with “{ }” which tells the computer to execute a function from what is in the middle of the brackets. It is a reflection of the field that I’ve chosen to put myself in.

The arrow signifies my strength and resilience because an arrow is useless unless you string it to a bow, pull it back, and let go. This reflects my life because of how all the struggle I’ve been through has caused me to grow stronger, and more resilient – like the arrow speeding forward after it’s been pulled back, I am also moving forward in my life. The arrowhead is the Star Trek TNG symbol representing my nerd/geek side.

I chose the Pi because of how despite it being an irrational number, it is also a constant. It reminds me during my dark times, that despite everything that could happen to me, that the world is still revolving, and Pi is still Pi no matter what happens. 3.14159, always.

The message “Don’t Panic” comes from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and it gives me a message to read when I’m anxious. It’s a directive, pretty simple and powerful for 2 mere words. The “42” is also from the same book, and in it, the number is considered the answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. I believe in the theory that the number is actually not a joke as most of us have believed, but rather an asterisk (*)  (since the ASCII value for an asterisk is 42) in programming. The asterisk is actually used by programmers as a wildcard when searching for something, deleting something etc (Example, if you type rm *.* – it means that you’re wanting every file to be deleted from your computer). This means that the answer to life, the universe, and everything is what you decide it to be. 

Lastly, the equal sign is a nod to my struggles as a queer person seeking understanding and acceptance in society. It’s a subtle enough symbol for my sexuality that anyone who knows what the equal sign means, will know how I identify. 

So far, I like the design, and if I can find a tattooist who is okay with using my design (I hear that most don’t like to do that), and who can do good black and white tattoos with clean, crisp lines, I think this might be the first tattoo I’ll ever get. And since I’ll be getting it while I’m in my thirties, I wonder how many people will think this is a mid-life crisis. Haha…

A Stranger’s Hug

Inkbox Tattoo

So I just got a new inbox tattoo (Inkbox Tattoo) after not having one for many months and this time, it was a reward for backing Inkbox’s Kickstarter campaign to produce their second formula. The second formula turned out to be much easier to apply and the tattoo turned out much darker than the other ones I’ve done before using the first formula.

Anyway, at the time of backing their campaign, I had chosen the semi colon design as my reward and so, I’ll be having a semicolon on my arm for the next 2 weeks.

Tonight, a lady at one of the tables I was serving saw the tattoo and said, “I really like your semicolon!” I smiled because I liked the tattoo as well. Then she said, “I know what it means. Come here! I want to give you a hug!”

I was surprised by that. I don’t mind hugs so I went over and hugged her. It turned out to be one of the best hugs I’ve ever had because it was not a half-assed hug. It was a full hug and I could feel the warmth of her kindness spread into my being. It felt good.

“I know what the semicolon represents and I’m glad that you’re here,” she said as we hugged.

“You give good hugs!” I said to her when the hug ended. I wish I had thought of thanking her properly because I was so flustered that I had forgotten my manners. I wish I could’ve said to her that I was very thankful that she had hugged me and how much it meant to me that she understood what the semicolon was for as well as not talk about it in front of her 7 other friends. I don’t mind talking about my story and why the semicolon but I usually prefer not to do so while at work. It just makes things awkward because I’ve learned that not many people want to talk about mental health issues over dinner.

Anyway, I truly appreciated the hug. It was timely since I was still trying to recover from this morning’s session with S. It had been painful and difficult as I’ve mentioned in my previous post so getting that hug was very helpful. I just regret not letting the lady know how much she had done for me just by her words and her hug.

My Purpose to Share My Story

Now I believe in God and the Bible. I read the Bible literally. I know there are many who don’t and that’s fine by me because I don’t care whether someone believes in Him or not. I want to preface this post with that because I don’t want needless debates about His existence and what not and I also don’t want people to think that just because I believe in God that I’m somehow ignorant or stereotypically like one of those “Westboro Christian” types. I don’t condone or even agree with the things they do and say to people. I don’t even want to call myself a Christian because I don’t agree with a lot of the things that churches are shoving down people’s throats.

Suffice to say, I firmly hold to the philosophy that to each his/her own and I don’t judge a person by what they do or don’t believe. I judge a person by what they do or say unto others.

Now that we have that out of the way… Let’s get to the point of today’s post.

Today, as I was sitting on the couch with my dearest husband watching a YouTube video, a thought struck me. “Why am I still alive? What is the point of me being alive? I struggle so much every single day and every single day, I just want to die. I want to die because I feel like everything is out of my control and I feel overwhelmed. I don’t get why God would still keep me here on this Earth…”

Then as I finished that thought, another thought entered my mind. This time, it was a stronger voice that said, “Maybe it’s because God is not done with me yet. He still has plans for you. Maybe He is keeping you here because He wants you to keep sharing the story of your struggles. Maybe He is using you as a means to touch others’ lives and to advocate for all those with mental illnesses…”.

The thought calmed my anxiety down a little. It dampened the depressive pressure that I’ve been feeling these past couple of days. And suddenly, things shifted into a different focus and perspective.

When someone is struggling with mental illnesses, it’s hard for them to see the big picture because all they feel is pain every day. That’s how I feel every day. It’s hard to see the big picture. It’s hard to get my mind out of the dark alley. When I do though, suddenly things are just that little bit easier to deal with.

Tonight, I was struggling. My worst days in the week are usually days when I have to work because as I’ve mentioned before, I work as a server at a restaurant. And to those who have never had to work in a restaurant before, consider yourselves extremely fortunate because restaurant work can be the most soul sucking and life draining job someone can have. I suppose most jobs where you have to deal with unreasonable people can be the same way.

Halfway through my shift, a couple sat in my section. Probably about an hour in to their dining experience, after they received their entree, I went by to check on them to make sure they were doing alright.

The husband said to me that he noticed the tattoos I have on my arms. (My Inkbox tattoo had faded and I’ve applied new ones. Now I have Pi on my left arm on top of the word “Worthy” and a semicolon on my right arm).

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He said that he was intrigued and would like to know what they meant to me. So I explained to them that I’m a nerd and I like math so the Pi which is a mathematical constant is there because I like math. Since it’s a constant, it’s also a reminder to me for how even when everything else in life sucks, that there are still things that will never change – like Pi. Then I explained that the semicolon is a way for me to advocate for suicide prevention and awareness. It is also a reminder to myself that despite the struggles, that I do have a choice to continue my life. I explained that there is a movement called “Project Semicolon” whose purpose is to advocate for mental health and suicide prevention. The couple expressed that they have never heard of such a thing before so I briefly explained the social media reach that this organization has. I also explained to them that I struggle with ADHD, Depression and Anxiety.

It was then that the wife told me that their 15-year-old daughter struggles with depression and anxiety as well. And she said that it is amazing that they ended up at my section and ended up talking to me about mental health. She mentioned divine providence and it reminded me of the thoughts I had this afternoon. Perhaps I was supposed to speak to this couple and to share with them a little about my story.

At the end of their meal, I gave them the address to my blog and told them that I write my story here because I believe that when you share your story, others will share theirs too. And I believe that no one should ever suffer in silence and no one should ever suffer alone. I also gave them my email address and told them that they’re free to contact me any time they’d like or if their daughter just needs someone to talk to, that I’m willing to lend my ear.

They seemed genuinely grateful for this short interaction and I was too. I’ve always described my depression as me being dragged into the sea and struggling to stay afloat while waves crash about me. Tonight, after this interaction, I felt like I was able to pull myself up from under the waves and take a deep breath. I really appreciated them asking me what my tattoos meant. I really appreciated being able to be share my story.

Sometimes, all someone wants is to be heard. I’m glad I was able to be heard tonight.

Update:
It turns out that this post is my 100th post on this blog! Wow! What an amazing coincidence!

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