Yesterday I got a tattoo. And not surprisingly, it hurt. A lot. Some parts more than others but over all it hurt. In an attempt to lessen the pain I tried a lot of things. I tried not thinking about it, biting my lower lip and telling myself it would be over soon. It didn’t really work. It was still really painful. Then I tired something I was sure wouldn’t work but I seemed out of options.
I leaned into the pain.
I focused on it and I sat with it. Focusing on it suddenly made it hurt less. Don’t get me wrong, it still stung but it was much more bearable. Suddenly I was aware of the feeling of the vibrations, which part of the skin hurt, how the needle felt on my skin. And it worked. It was almost like bringing attention to it made it…less. It took away it’s power. It reminded me of my emotional life. The more I tried to ignore pain and pretend I wasn’t feeling it the worse it got. And when I lean into it, it still sucks but it’s bearable. I reflected on how your brain reacts similarly to physical and emotional torment. And I leaned into the pain.
Now I don’t know if it was the pain making me feel a little loopy but it really occurred to me how much trust there is going into a tattoo. I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t nervous about it; would I regret it, what if I don’t like the finished product, what if I can’t make it though the pain? I’m sure tattoo artists have their concerns too. What if I don’t like it when it’s done, what if I didn’t shower, what if I can’t make it through the pain and she lost the money for the time I was there?
I brought my artist an idea, my body and my trust.
She trusted me to sit still, and be open to her art. (and to shower)
I was giving her the gift of my pain for her art. She was was giving me the gift of her time and expertise for something I could cherish forever.
Trust can be hard and it’s a gift. And when it’s given and received and given back? That’s art. Lean in.
Today I had a very…humbling experience. I was on the street car and there was a woman crying and hyperventilating. Now normally I would have passed by, averted my gaze and pretend that she probably didn’t want to talk to me anyways. Today was different. I sucked it up, felt awkward and looked at her and asked…”Are you okay?”. She seemed surprised, told me she was having trouble breathing then proceeded to hyperventilate. A nice gentleman beside us gave her an inhaler and we got to talking. She said she just got off a 12 hour shift at Starbucks and I told her I used to work there and I got how stressful it was. She laughed then told me she was going into surgery tomorrow for cervical cancer. Wow. Heavy shit.
I had a cousin who recently went into remission for cervical cancer. I told her that. I asked her if she had a support system and she said not really so I got her phone number. Just like that we were no longer strangers on the streetcar. We were connecting over pain but also the joy of two people really seeing each other. She was giving me the gift of seeing her pain and I was giving her the gift of acknowledging it and sharing it with her. All it took was three small words.
When we got to her stop she shook my hand and I gave her a hug. I told her I’d be praying for her. I’m thinking about her now and I truly hope she is okay. I feel like I was given a gift of connection. All by asking someone in need “are you okay?”
So friends, are you okay? Do you have stories to share or weights to remove from your chest?
Love you guys.
So this is not a very happy post but I wanted to share the story.
On my way to work I saw this little guy limping and decided to call the Toronto Wildlife Centre. They advised me that, based on his symptoms he had canine distemper. For those who are unfamiliar that means he will suffer permanent brain damage and there is no cure. They advised me to call 311 to have him humanly put to sleep or else he would just end up dying alone, bleeding and having seizures. So after a debate my partner and I called 311 and stayed with him trying to provide what comfort we could until they took him from us and moved him to the next world. They took him away and we mourned and now I’m sharing him with you nice people.
As my first post I thought it would be fun to post a random story inspired by a random plot generator. I will admit I used the generator loosely but it was fun!
My random plot of the day
Main Character-A caring 43 year old man
Character 2 – An arrogant 29 year old woman
Setting-The Story begins on a cliff
Situation-An abandoned dog is given a home
Theme-It’s a story about love
Character action-Your character attempts to keep a low profile (yeah, this wasn’t used to it’s full potential. Oh well)
Without Further Ado – An Abandoned Dog Is Given A Home
No matter how hard Tim tried, he couldn’t imagine how someone could leave behind their dog. He knew Tiffany was selfish (he’d known her father and although they didn’t talk much, he’d seen enough of her to know where her interests lie.) but he never knew her to be cruel. The sun was rising over the mountains when he saw her BMW drive by being chased by a little whippet, barely a year old. He waved his arms and chased her down the cliff but she just sped up and disappeared around the bend. He turned around and the little dog was cowering by the tree line. He’d seen it around town, Tiffany had bought him from a breeder for her 5 year old just 8 months ago. He moved towards the frightened pup who promptly skittered into the bushes. He sighed and bent down, whistling softly. He was in good shape for a 43 year old but his knees still protested mildly as he sank his weight onto them. He saw the dog peering nervously out of the forest and inched closer slowly, trying his best to make what he imagined were comforting sounds. Clearly they weren’t comforting enough because the dog bounced away when he tried to grab the collar. Tim lost his balance as he felt the dog slip out from under him and cursed as he smacked his knee on a protruding branch. He followed the dog out of the forest to the top of the cliff. The sun was almost up now, bathing everything in orangey pink light. The dog looked over his shoulder at Tim and made a small, sad noise. Tim reached into his fanny pack (not stylish but very practical for running) and pulled out his beef jerky. He was going to eat it and watch the sunrise but life has a way of taking away your beef jerky. He slowly moved towards the dog with the jerky thrust out in front of him. The whippet began to inch towards him on his belly, his fear overcome by the salty meat. When they met he began to gnaw on the jerky and Tim put a cautious hand on his back. Whippets are a slender breed yet he could feel every vertebrae and rib. It was obvious he was underfed. The dog finished his jerky,walked gingerly over to Tim and rested his head on his knee, gently licking it. Tim sighed and patted the dog’s head. Tim was a low key kind of man and didn’t do anything too much out of the ordinary. Today felt different as he sat on the cliff watching the sun rise with this quiet animal shivering on his knee. He looked at the tag on the collar for his name. “ROVER”. Tim rolled his eyes and removed the collar and promptly threw it off the edge of the cliff. Tim stood up, scooping up the puppy up and into his windbreaker. The dog (Tim refused to call him Rover), licked his chin and settled into the warmth of his jacket. Limping down the path, Tim cradled him close and said, “Come on little buddy. You’re going home.”