Tattoos for me began at an early age. I got my first one at 15 or 16 years old with some of my childhood friends while we were on vacation together in Florida. So typical, I know. (sorry, mom) And guess what? I ended up hating it so much that I got it covered up with something else just last year, ha. Again, so typical. Fortunately for me, it was in a place that no one could see it. (it wasn’t that bad – just a Chinese symbol that held zero significance to me) The others followed at ages 17, 19, 21, 26 and my most recent just shy of six months ago. They’re not for everyone, but here’s my stance on them:
I’ve always been a visual person. I’ve always been a passionate person. When you combine these two things together into one human being, its no surprise that tattoos are appealing to me. They serve as constant daily reminders, especially the two that I have on my forearms. These are the ones that are front and center, and the ones that hold the most value.
I won’t get in to all of the tattoos that I have, but I did want to touch base on my most recent – the wave on my right arm.
When I was thinking about what to get on my right forearm, running parallel to my dad’s handwriting on my left forearm, I knew I wanted it to be something that reflected my life as it was in that moment – a journey towards calm living. I also wanted it to reflect the relationship I have with my mom. It’s a strong, peaceful, lovely exchange every single day, and I take a lot of pride in that. I immediately thought of a stencil of a wave, and the idea stuck. (for the longest time she’s referred to the ocean as “her church” – it heals her) I would draw it on myself daily – trying out different sketches and testing out the thickness of it. (A great way to ensure you really want a tattoo, by the way! Draw it yourself and live with it for a couple of weeks before committing.)
Fast forward about five months later and I’m taking a bubble bath and reading a new book called “Present over Perfect.” As I turn the page, I see a familiar symbol – the symbol of a wave outlined just as I had been drawing it on my skin for months. Underneath it were the words: Sea Change.
I kept reading.
Within minutes, my body was covered in chills. A few tears streamed down my cheeks and I felt this incredible wave (no pun intended) of peace float over my entire body. The passage from the book was this:
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Now I hear them — Ding-dong, bell.
This is the story of my sea-change—the journey from one way of living to another. It’s also an invitation to a sea-change of your own. No matter your age, your gender, your season of life, no matter your politics or profession, your sexuality or your faith tradition, you are invited into a sea change.
I’m coming to believe that there are a handful of passages in our lives that transform us, not unlike conversions, where the old is gone and the new is come.
For me, this has taken the shape of a nearly four-year journey from exhaustion, multitasking, frantic and frayed living, into peace, connection, and rest.
Let me preface my current situation by telling those of you who may be new to the blog that the previous 3 years through 2016 had been intense for me to say the least. This isn’t a means of asking for a pitty party, I just want to be honest. I lost my dad somewhat suddenly in 2013, I’ve been learning my way through the messy and complicated grief process, I went through major relationship eb and flows, a lot of moving, I lost myself and then I worked tirelessly to find myself, and the list goes on. It hasn’t been easy, so when I read this I felt as if the universe had dropped it right into my lap, begging me to read the words for what they were: a message. A loving reminder.
And that’s exactly how I took it; a loving hug from the universe.
I believe with all of my being that the universe has a way of trying to reach out to us, and won’t stop until we listen. I also believe that we’re congratulated when we do; that things begin to fall into place one after the other. I decided right then and there that not only was I going to get the tattoo I had been thinking about for months, but I was going to use it as a fresh start for my life. I wasn’t going to just talk about changing my habits and thought patterns, I was going to live them.
I was going to travel more.
I was going to live with less.
I was going to choose happiness every single day.
I was going to listen more and talk less.
I was going to leave space for myself.
I was going to value my time.
I was going to write my story.
I was going to live the life I wanted.
And so I did.
And I am.
To this day I’m still honoring all of those things I said I would. They’ve become etched into my brain and into my every day train of thought. I prioritize travel into my life, I rid myself of the things that were holding me back and that were unsupportive – both material items and relationships, I choose happy every morning – even on those days I feel irritable or things aren’t going my way, I try my absolute best to always be 100% present for the people I’m speaking with – to ensure I’m truly hearing them rather than just waiting for my turn to speak. I commit to far less, and make the most of my time that I have with myself – even if that means just reading a good book or enjoying a glass of wine with some music in the comfort of my own home. I write more – way more. It’s not always published on this blog, rather it’s tucked away in a journal or in word documents on my computer.
My life is so different since that moment in that bath reading a simple excerpt from a book, and my tattoos are so much more than body art. They’re a reflection of my life’s journey. Who I was, who I am, who I’m becoming.
My Sea Change.5