Monday, April 22, 2013

On temporary pain....

Tattoos are kind of hilarious to me. I'm often perplexed at how emotionally violent people can get about either their love of or hatred of them. I've seen people get oddly judgemental toward people who have them; but I've seen the flip-side, too. I've seen people with tattoos get oddly preachy about the reasons they have if one group could convince the other to change their minds. As if it matters.

I have a few tattoos of my own. Four, to be exact. And I love them all. Well, I love three of them. The ugly stepsister tattoo (which was my first) is embarrassing, at best. I need to get it fixed. It was the product of a slightly intoxicated rebellious streak and, because I knew nothing of how to research artists or questions I should ask, I essentially wound up with a paint-by-numbers drawing on my back. Lesson learned, Universe. Lesson learned. [It should also be noted that I credit Miami Ink with teaching me the questions to ask and skills to expect with something so permanent].

So that was my first tattoo. A naked fairy sitting on a rose on my lower back. It's hideous. Borderline white trash. Sigh. It's going to take a lot to fix it.

Despite that catastrophe of a tattoo, I've become addicted, as so many people do. I now have four tattoos with room for nine more and ideas for at least four of them. Each of them mean (or will mean) something special to me. One is my life's mission. Another is my family. The most recent is my strength. The next is how I feel about myself (or should feel, because I don't always feel this way). Another is my past and there will be a matching future. I have a plan for one to display my pride in myself (and my body). I'd like one to display my zen, my peace...but that one will take some time to design.

It's about the most permanent way I can think of to display the things that make me, me. I see some of my tattoos daily and am reminded of so much of the good and magical in my life. It forces me to remember that for all the good and beautiful in my life, it's come with some signficant pain. But more than that, it reminds me that pain is temporary and beauty really can feel like forever.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

On learning to love again....

Confession: I have struggled with feelings of hatred and fear for a really long time.
Mostly, these feelings are directed at myself or at situations I find myself in. I hate the high arches in my feet. I hate that my gums are receding. I hate that I have a five-head (and I especially hate the scar on said five-head that is in no way a curling iron burn, but everyone stupidly asks that question). I hate the cottage cheese that's starting to appear on my ass and thighs. I hate that my top half is disproportionately small compared to my bottom half.

Very recently, I took up yoga in a pretty serious way. I went one time with a girl friend about a week ago and have gone every single day since then. Honestly...$75 for unlimited yoga? It was an easy sell for me, even with my very limited budget. I don't know how it happened, but during one of my classes, I just started thinking while I was breathing: "Peace and love in; Hatred and fear out." I think it's become my mantra.

And it's started helping my understand and appreciate (dare I say, even begin to love) my body more than I ever have. My high arches allow for quick and light footfalls when I run. There's very little I can do about my teeth and gums, but my new dentist is dreamy in a (married) Michael Buble kind of way so I hate going to the dentist a lot less. My five-head looks pretty awesome when my hair is pulled back in a delightfully messy ponytail when I run. My dimpled ass is just a product of me getting a little older, but my legs are carrying me farther than I ever thought I'd go. And while I still don't like that I can't fill out a sundress, I can honestly say there's nothing better than not having to worry about my chest or back aching from that weight while I run.

Yoga is teaching me things I didn't think I could learn. Things like restoration and inner peace. I still have a long way to go on both of those fronts. I'm still a really frenetic, Type A monster most of the time. But for an hour a day, I can relax into myself and my breath and I think I could easily spend five or six hours flowing through gentle poses and it would probably be the most beneficial thing I'd ever do for myself.

And what makes this whole yoga thing even more relaxing to me is the knowledge that I can take it with me anywhere I go. Granted, I have a lot of learning to do before I can do this on my own. I'm a creature that thrives in structured environments where I'm told what to the idea of going it alone in yoga is a bit overwhelming, but I'm hopeful I can get there. I have dreams of practicing on a front porch somewhere, overlooking the ocean. Or taking my mat camping with me and being a warrior and star gazer in the hills.

No matter where my life takes me, I'm convinced that yoga will go with me.