Push-ups – 50 (Day 15)
“Ink the Truth on Me.”
It would be dishonest to say this date happened after I started my 30 date journey to date myself because this date was in August. However, it was a very significant date that catapulted this journey forward to start in September.
For my 37th birthday this year, I got a hotel room on St. Pete Beach for a few days and took my daughter on a mini-vacation. This date is not about our hotel stay in July, but that weekend was the birthplace of the idea to date myself as well as for my ink date.
As my birthday quickly approached, as it always does, I felt the usual need to get some friends together to celebrate the day I was born. But what did I want to do? I started to wonder what I would really say if I asked myself what I would like to do for my birthday. I decided I wanted to try celebrating my birthday on my own, doing something I knew for a fact I wanted to do. The idea was born, but I had no idea it would turn into this journey.
On the night of my birthday, I had our babysitter come watch my daughter at the hotel so I could take myself out on my birthday. The weekend at the hotel was the real birthday present to myself, but I still wanted to take myself out that night. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I said goodnight to my daughter at the hotel pool and headed out for a drive. I knew I wanted to walk the beach later that night to write, daydream and explore. Nevertheless, before I walked the quiet shoreline, I wanted to go for a drive.
The drive that night had the nostalgic nighttime beach smell from high school all over it. The feeling of everyone finally showering after a long day at the beach and leaving their hotel room sunburnt in search of dinner. Even though you can’t see the ocean from the main strip, you can smell the waves and wind coming through your car window and out the passenger’s side.
I had a mission as I drove the beach strip that night. I was in search of a tattoo shop and was ready to take a step towards getting new ink.
Over the past couple years, I have immersed myself in learning how to take care of myself mentally, just as good as I do physically. I’ve learned to look within and be more self-aware than I’m even comfortable with sometimes. It wonderful to be self-aware and understand why we do the shit we do. It’s great being able to foresee setbacks that may come and have the tools in place to help us move through things quicker.
But it’s also annoying as shit to be so self-aware. For me, I’m so self-aware at times, I can’t enjoy the moments as they’re happening. I’ll be in a moment and suddenly my self-awareness is like, “oh my gosh we’re happy! This moment is great! Ok, why are we happy? What’s are our surroundings? What’s going on and how can we understand why this moment is great. Why is this great? Let’s remember it.” All the while, stripping the moment of enjoying the bliss of being in the moment. I try to capture and analyze it all. But that’s another story…
As I began loving who I am and seeing the qualities I love about myself, I fell in love with me. (see my February blog post, “Go Love Yourself” – Round 2 Fit Self Love where I talk about that journey). It’s not a self-inflated cocky or arrogant statement. It was about my feelings towards myself, learning to accept and love who I am. In turn, I am able to show up as my best self in my work, parenting, and someday a relationship.
This love made me want to celebrate the work I had done over the past couple years, in addition to this year of having to regroup during some tough times. I wanted a statement and reminder to myself that no matter what, I love you.
I decided to get “I LOVE YOU” tattooed on myself as a gift. A gift that is permanent, because the love for yourself should be permanent. Because it all starts there. Loving who we are and embracing our true selves. It’s only then we can truly have the room and capacity to give and pour into people. And it’s a never-ending fucking process for me. It’s my battle, but I work at it. With self-acceptance and love, I believe we can go through tough times a little easier because we’re gentle on ourselves. We can be better parents, businessmen and women, leaders, and citizens because we’re showing up confident in our truths and values.
I began searching I LOVE YOU patterns and little by little my thought came to life. It started with an idea and ended with blood. Haha, that’s so dramatic. I had to leave that in this blog post because it made me laugh.
When searching for “I love you” patterns, the infinity symbol came up. I love the design of the infinity symbol and it’s a great reminder that the love for myself should be forever (because getting it inked into my wrist isn’t enough of a reminder). I decided to include the infinity symbol and a heart in my “I Love You” tattoo.
Josh, from Sun Coast Tattoos, worked with me on a design the night of my birthday and after a few days, sent me a beautiful design. I immediately said yes. It captured the vision I had for a beautiful tattoo that made a statement just for me.
If you decide to get a tattoo as part of dating yourself, I highly recommend telling NO ONE. I told no one about my idea of getting my tattoo and what I wanted to get. I’m so happy I kept it to myself, even when I felt excited to talk about it. People like to give opinions and the whole point of dating yourself is to do what YOU want and what YOU like, without influence. I wanted this to be special, just for me, and without the noise.
It took some time for me to schedule an appointment to go back after that beach weekend. It was only an hour away, but life happens. However, I was committed to getting inked and found an afternoon to take off and headed to the beach.
I have 3 tattoos, so I knew what was involved. Still, it’s been almost 20 years since I’ve gotten one so it felt mysterious and new. During all 3 tattoos I got in my teenage years, I either passed out or threw up during the process. I was prepared for both sceneries as I walked in the tattoo shop wearing my usual gym clothes, high-knee sox, and sneakers.
Josh was awesome and took amazing care of not just me, but my anxiousness. I was excited as looked at the different colors of pink and red! However, once you get older, you get, well…old. Your free spirit is buried under a pile of life worries and sometimes all you hear during these exciting times are statements like, “what if”, “but what about”, “you should” and “you shouldn’t.” Perfection can creep in too and rob you of an experience.
I had moments of thinking, “what if I don’t like it?” and “what if it’s crooked and it drives me crazy?” But I stayed focused on why I was doing it. Focusing on why I wanted to get “I Love You” tattooed on my wrist, helped me realize what the purpose was. Even if it didn’t come out perfect, or the colors weren’t just right, it would be just like me, imperfect. I would embrace that imperfectness and love it just the way it was.
After a few attempts to get the lining on wrist perfect, I said, “It looks great! Let’s do this!” I braced myself as my muscles tensed and I looked away from the tattoo gun. After I let myself breath, I realized it didn’t hurt! A little uncomfortable, yes, but completely manageable. No passing out or throwing up.
I had an honest conversation with Josh about our kids and owning a business as he tattooed my arm with clean lines. My focus was fully engaged in watching his artwork transform my wrist. It was beautiful to watch and 20 minutes later I was inked with “I LOVE YOU.”
With one glance at my wrist, I would be able to tell myself,
“I love you…for infinity… and in your heart, is love”
I left on a high. I did it. I left St. Beach Pete with a big cheesy smile on my face the entire drive back to Tampa. It was a date I’ll always remember and I’ll forever have a reminder in case I forget. 😊
It’s been exactly two months since I got the tattoo. Sometimes I look down at my wrist and smile and other times I forget the tattoo is there. Similarly, I have had days when it’s hard to see the words and what they mean because I can’t see them. I’m lost in self-doubt, sadness, or uncertainty. But as I become aware and make myself stare at the words, I see the truth. I not only see it, but I can hear those three little words loud and clear.
I like tattoos! I’m already thinking about getting another one. I’ll never have a sleeve or be tattooed head to toe, but all the ink on my body has meaning. And I like those little works of art that make me, me.
It’s important for me to do things without other people’s opinions. The only opinion that should matter with decisions like this, is mine. I’m aware of tools that help me live the life I want to live and I never want to forget that. If seeing “I Love You” on my wrist helps me wake up knowing I’m loved by myself so I can go kick ass out in the world, then you better believe I’m going to eat that shit up for breakfast.