As soon as my artist put the stencil on my arm, I couldn’t stop smiling. I had been waiting 6 years for this. I’ve logged over 500 miles running outside the last 2 years and I found myself actively contemplating on the concept of waiting during those 60+ runs. Running is a vehicle I use to get inside myself. It’s a way of getting to know my nature so that I can in turn get out of my own way and let myself be.
The idea of waiting to do something you want to do is so weird. Obviously, there’s a bit of a balance v. reality however I’m talking about the things you want to do, but wait to do out of fear. Fear that you’ll fail, fear that people won’t like you, fear that it won’t be as great as you dreamt it up to be.
Those potential outcomes will exist in everything that you do. So why was this tattoo any different? I didn’t go into it blindly, that’s not exactly my style when it comes to my body. I had contemplated the design, placement and artist (Deluxe Tattoo Melissa Freeman, Steamboat CO). I had even worked with a friend, Vanesa in Spain – a past Airbnb host of mine and now a beautiful soul I’ve gotten the chance to know and befriend. Vanesa and I emailed back and forth about the design and its meaning for over a year.
When you’re lying on your deathbed, you will never regret the things you did with your precious life, you’ll only regret the things you didn’t do.
I couldn’t stop smiling. I didn’t stop until 3 hours in, once shading started and my hips and legs became restless.
Another artist in the shop was giving me a hard time, all in good fun – asking me why an elephant and why such a big first tattoo. He was determined we wouldn’t finish the tattoo in one sitting. His doubt or challenge may have been purposeful, at least I’d like to think so because it worked. I got emotional as I told him of my experience volunteering at the Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand. I didn’t understand how the elephants there let us or trust us to bathe and feed them. Elephants remember everything that happens to them, and humans had previously exploited these elephants in unimaginable ways, all in the name of making money.
When I saw the final sketch of the piece, I didn’t want to become too attached to it. I didn’t want to think too hard on it. I wanted the piece to evolve naturally, the moment it dug its way under my skin. It is a part of me. And now, it has already evolved, way more than I expected.
The sacred geometry (flower of life) supports the elephant and the flowers but more importantly, for me, it tells a story of how there’s always more. If you look closely, you’ll see that the geometry is either not complete or has something more. To me, there’s always more. You can start with the standard model in physics to help explain the origin of our universe but it doesn’t stop there. Now that we have the CERN experimental physics, the standard model is no longer enough; we have to look at other possibilities… such as supersymmetry and dark matter, multi-verses – where numbers can take on different values and its law of physics are unfathomable. We know the universe is expanding and Higgs is a random accident that allows life to exist, but has no explanation. See, there’s always more. And, you’ll find it. You just have to be open to it.
A big thank you to Melissa Freeman, the artist. My experience at her shop in Steamboat was phenomenal. Melissa is a mother, an artist, a business owner, a badass and an inspiration. I feel honored to have her art with me the rest of my life! And lastly, heaps of gratitude and thanks to my partner Michael for supporting me in everything I do and for capturing some of those moments on film to keep us grounded.