Friday, August 23, 2013

How a Tattoo Changed my Goal in Friendship

On Sunday I start the physical process of acquiring a beautiful, artistic, meaning-laden tattoo on my upper arm. It will end at my elbow after a few sessions of ink-filled needles and sitting still -at least, as far as I can imagine it now. This beginning, like most others in life, marks the end of an era. A fifteen year period where I created a prison in which my personality had to reside.

It all begin in fifth grade. At the ripe age of ten, I was picked on at school for the first time by not one or two, but a group of the popular girls. It was very public, very embarrassing, and very much established a scar upon my personality. In those moments of ridicule (that persisted until graduation from high school), I learned that shame and disappointment were strong and scary emotions. For years, I sat in a confining mental box avoiding any occasion that could lead to said emotions.

At twenty four years old, I've fueled many relationships in the same way. I don't want to be a disappointment. I want to be liked for every bit of me. I want to be a perfect friend to her. So much so, I'd beat myself up over small, seemingly forgettable awkward moments. I'd lay awake at night retracing mistakes in my day wishing desperately for a do over button.

Then, in early August Jason gave me an early anniversary present. He said I'd look beautiful with the art I so longed for on my body. He told me he'd cherish the meaning behind those tattoos just like me. And, he said to go for it. So I started the hunt for an artist whose work I love. And I found him. Then we booked the date: Sunday, August 26th.

I've gotten push back from family and friends. For every one that's excited about the decision, another isn't. But, it's my body. And the man who enjoys my body loves it too. And the God who made my body doesn't have a problem with it (in my humble and not always correct opinion). And if He does the blessing in life is His unfailing grace, His unchanging love, and His apparent bend toward art. 
(Here's another post in the making)

As a result of the ink to come on Sunday, my take on relationships has morphed into a new and freeing thought process. I no longer need to be held hostage in my friendships. For the first time in a hell of a long time, I'm doing something for me and it's a beautiful moment in which to savor and bask. Previously, I'd feel guilty, talk myself out of the want, and attempt to move on from my own frustration with my lack of back bone. But lately, I've broken the cycle.

I can hop off the tight rope teetering between my opinions and worry about their thoughts of me. Through this I am freed to bring an authentic genuine me to the table and it's up to you -friends, family, readers- to love it or leave it. And, I won't be hurt either way because being free to be me allows me to breathe and with breath I have life and with life I have opportunity for more -more friends, more faith, more adventure, more love.

Oh sweet freedom! 

Through this new confidence in bringing me to the table, I have come to terms with what I've got to offer and where I can grow. And, those realizations are beautiful in themselves. I can only imagine how the growth from them will look.

You see, I can't promise perfection or a disappointment free friendship. I know we won't agree on everything and that I'll contradict myself at times. More times than not, you'll be greeted with sarcasm and a joke, though you can enjoy a deep conversation on my behalf, too. You're going to get the good with the bad as a whole package deal.

I can promise loyalty like a dear dog. Honesty like a child. A struggling prayer warrior who'll lift you up as often as she remembers to talk to Him. Laughs like a comedian, but not as dirty. Pouty puppy dog face texts.
Homemade quilts for special occasions. A faithful date for cocktail hour. Adventure in the form of spa days, pedicures, and shopping trips. Tears as a result of laughing fits, since ugly crying really isn't my thing. Funny faced pictures -preferred over glamour shots. A listening ear with (sometimes) encouraging words. 
A love for trying something new, even if it's a one and only time basis. Fashion advice: like, knee length camouflage sweat shorts. Shared knowledge of the science behind dry shampoo. Vulnerability that is sometimes lacking, but an area I'm working on desperately. A homemade dinner when you're having a tough time or just really freaking hungry. 

So, I invite you. 
Be free in friendship with me.
And, if you don't like the bad, you don't get the good.
Tough luck, ranger. 

7 comments:

  1. So well put!!! Ill be free in friendship with you.

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  2. woop woop! so excited to see the product in progress! (and i'm not even a tattoo person.)

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  3. We are so alike it's scary. I obviously want to be free friends with you, since we're soul sisters. You're awesome. Can't wait to see your new ink!

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  4. Love. Love. Love this post!

    Can't wait to see the final product. Fair warning - they are addicting!

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  5. This is a beautiful post!! Such a great outlook. Super excited to see the tattoo!

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  6. I had a blog back in the day that had hit a large number of followers. It made me take a step back and say, "Oh shit." Because it showed me as a blogger with a certain persona that wasn't actually ME. So I wrote a few posts about who I was and other things I wanted people to know. My faith [lack of] and tattoos and love of pit bulls and military life [and how much I didn't fit into it], etc.

    And this post reminds me of THOSE posts and, can I just say, HALLELUJAH! So glad to see YOU, friend. I hope the appointment went well. I'm sure you were totally hyper and exhilarated afterwards--maybe a little scared, too--and I'm so glad you did it! Yay!

    Please share a photo with us. Because this is EXCITING.

    Welcome to the world of the heavily tattooed. :]

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  7. Beautiful words my friends!

    Thank you for sharing this!!

    -Kate
    www.theflorkens.com

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