I’m Making A Difference…

…I really am.

Earlier today I was at a local grocery store getting some beer. The young lady who was checking me out noticed my semicolon tattoo and asks “is your semicolon a tattoo?” and I’m like “yeah it is.” I asked her if she knew the symbolism and she said that yes she did. We then had a nice little exchange in which I asked if she had any tattoos to which she said no because her parents didn’t like them (I’m guessing she’s either underage or living at home while in college). I have a feeling she’s going to get one in the near future though. 😛

Nonetheless, it does show what an impact my ink has had on others. This is not the first time I have been asked about it either. Another example came earlier this week while in a meeting and the guy sitting next to me noticed my puzzle piece. Come to find out he has a 9 year old son on the spectrum so we talked about that for awhile. It was a surreal experience.

There are a handful of other experiences I’ve had similar to these.

I had no idea when I began my inked journey six months ago that it would have such a reaching impact. When given the chance to tell my story I’ve had varying reactions from different people, including moving a couple to tears. It’s simply amazing.

Now, I don’t want to (as a person) be limited to just my ink as there are other facets of my life, but if breaks the ice for a conversation to potentially meet someone cool, I’m OK with it. I don’t mind sharing my story or the battles I’ve fought and overcome. My tattoos are ultimately colored scars representative of them, after all.

Rest assured, I will keep getting ink and I will keep telling my story for all those who want to hear it.

Newest Ink and Tattoo Life Lessons

So yesterday I got yet another new tattoo. The not-so-Scottish blood that flows through my veins was sort of adopted into the Scottish culture via immersion in the bagpipe/pipe band scene and I just had to have something Scottish themed. Well, I figured this was appropriate:

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A bit of background: the dagger shown is what’s called a “sgian dubh” – literally “black knife” in Scottish Gaelic. It is a utility knife worn under the kilt hose that has both eating and fighting purposes – not only was it a knife that could cut food it was also a first line of defense for fighting.

When in full regalia I do wear one just for show (that’s blunted) but even then you can’t carry weapons in certain places. For this reason, I figured I’d get a sgian dubh tattooed on my calf at some point but I just didn’t know it was going to be this soon! Alas, I thought to myself and thought why just do the dagger? Why not dress it up a bit? That’s where the Saltire flag came in.

At times the pain was intense, but bearable throughout. The really bad part is this morning! I actually had to take some pain killers because my leg aches something fierce. Oh well, it definitely is worth it. As always, you can read more about this and my other tattoos on the “My Tattoos” page (link in the menu bar).

Alas, it did occur to me while I was having the tattoo applied  yesterday that we can take a lot of life lessons away from tattoos. Sometimes some of the most beautiful things in life come as a result of pain. Tattoos certainly fit this category, but this is true even in other art forms: music, visual arts, theater, you name it. It’s even true in some things outside of the arts.

I guess the lesson to be had is that some of the best things in life are worth enduring anguish for. This sort of runs counter to some of my deeper moral/philosophical convictions, but that’s an argument for another day. Sure, you know something is going to hurt going into it, but if it is worth it in the end, embrace that pain and the journey that sends you to the more beautiful place in your life.

Random Rantings For Today

Well, this isn’t a tattoo post (though I will be going under the needle again tomorrow at 10 AM for a Scottish-themed tattoo on my outer right calf – stay tuned for pics!) but I just have a couple of rants for today, so thanks for entertaining them.

First off, it’s fucking hot here in Texas, alright? We’re talking upper 90 degrees. Quite frankly I’m also very, very hot natured. Naturally I am going to do what I have to in order to cool my body as much as possible.

I’ve never really liked the shorts they have for men these days. Those baggy long things do nothing to cool your legs and they weigh you down. Nah, I’ve always been one to opt for the vintage short shorts (if you couldn’t tell from my Gravatar). They actually keep your legs cool and let’s face it, legs are legs whether they belong to a guy or a girl.

Nonetheless, do I ever get some heat (pun intended) for it. I’ve seen people snap pictures of me with their cell phones, laugh or snicker under their breath, whatever. I even had a server at a restaurant make a smart remark under her breath (that I think wasn’t intended for my ears but I heard it clear – needless to say she got no tip and a nasty note). It doesn’t bother me as that just says more about them than it does me, but it does make me wonder: why do they care so damn much? My fashion choices, although passé, don’t affect their lives any. I also know a lot of people have been put off by them at first sight and thus have passed over getting to know me.

I’m more than just the clothes I wear or even the ink on my body for that matter. I’m a person with a story to tell and a heart full of love to give and not enough people to give it to. If people looked past my image and got to know me they’d see that although a bit weird, I’m a nice, fun-loving, easy-going guy.

Secondly, it’s allergy season. I have horrible, horrible allergies and have ever since I can remember. Combine this with chronic postnasal drip and as a result often times I have this non-stop throat clearing nonsense. Funs stuff, let me tell you.

Let me tell you what else: I’m just as well aware of it as you are, dear lady in the next office over. You don’t have to go out of your way to point it out to me. I know damn good and well that the whole grinding “ahem” sound and/or the sound of mucus moving around is annoying and gross. Trust me, it’s probably more annoying to me than it is to you! I try to keep it as minimal as I can (and especially since I sing and throat clearing can damage one’s vocal cords) but it can’t be helped.

I know it might be bothersome, but cut me some slack. What do you expect me to do? Choke on my own phlegm? Yeah, like you’re going to enjoy the sound of that!

Anyway, I just needed to vent. For those who read to the end, thanks. I just needed to get this off of my chest. I appreciate my newfound blogging friends and hope our friendship can continue to grow together.

Never Say Never!

Otherwise known as “what a difference a few years makes.”

The other day I was browsing my former blogging home (Xanga – before it tanked) looking at some old blogs and comments I left on some of the Xanga sister sites (known as “-ish” blogs) and I came across this one on a fashion blog that I had left regarding my opinion of tattoos. You’re about to get a kick out of this:

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Never mind the terrible grammar, but you get the idea. This was precisely my attitude on tattoos up until about December of last year when I started toying around with the idea of getting one. I nearly talked myself out of it but with the push of a few friends giving their support I had no choice but to go through with it. One turned into two, two turned into the rest of my life.

The moral of the story is you never know. There is no way to predict even your own future. It might take some outside motivating factor for you to do something you claim you never will, but by all means it COULD happen, and who knows? Once you try it you might like it.

New Ink!

Today my local parlor was doing autism awareness puzzle pieces benefitting Autism Speaks. I couldn’t say no so I jumped on it and lo and behold I was number 1 of 10 on the day!

As always, you can read more about this tattoo and my other tattoos on the “My Tattoos” page. Link in the menu bar!

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Empty Feelings Abound

Sometimes I wonder why I’m even still around. It’s really hard when you just feel empty in a way.

By all means I’ve accomplished a lot in my short life. Probably more than most neurotypical people my age, but when you have no real fulfillment in life it’s really hard to celebrate those accomplishments nonetheless.

As a corollary, it is really difficult to have fulfillment in life when you have no fulfillment in your job or career. Every one of us spends a vast majority of our waking hours at our jobs. That’s just the fact of the matter. There are only about 14 hours of daylight on the longest days of the year and we spend at least 8 of those at work (and in most cases more than that). That leaves very little time for ourselves to pursue interests and hobbies outside of work. As such, having a job or career that brings one satisfaction and fulfillment is an absolute must to finding one’s happy place in life.

Unfortunately for me, that’s not and will never be the case. As I sit here on my lunch break typing this out, I’m already emotionally drained and only half of my work day is done. I’ll be quite frank here: my job sucks. My bosses suck. Most of my coworkers suck. Sure, I’m looking to maybe go elsewhere, but I’m afraid I’ll wind up the exact same as I am now: unfulfilled, empty and depressed.

Admittedly it is hard to take pride and joy in your work when you have to settle for a career that although might be lucrative is not what you really want to do in life. I truly envy those people who are living their dreams and love their work so much they become practically immersed in it. I realize that those people are truly few and far between but it sure would make life a hell of a lot easier.

The nihilistic side of me wants to believe it doesn’t really matter that much at the end of the day because we’re all going to die and when we do this all will be rendered meaningless (I do not believe in an afterlife or reincarnation of any kind), but I’d really like the in between to be as painless as possible, you know?

I look at all these mass shootings recently and as much as they wrench my gut, in some sort of sick, perverse way I envy those killed. I would gladly go in their place. I know the radical Islamist shooter thinks I’m just as worthy of death on account of my atheism as the gay folk were so it could have just as easily been me.

I don’t write this so anyone feels in any way sorry for me. It’s just how I feel. I wish I could feel better. I wish I could just “snap out of it.” For some of us happiness isn’t a choice and it’s totally impossible to feel happy due to both internal and external factors.

As much as I remain hopeful that things might one day be different for me, I don’t look for it to happen. On the other side of the catch-22 is if I commit suicide my family and what few friends I have would be totally devastated and I really don’t want to subject them to that. It does leave me in a tough spot.

Oh what to do?

Two Saturdays, Two More Tats

I love any excuse for more ink. Tattoos are my therapy. Between the buzz, the pain and the rush, I just find my zen while being inked.

This Saturday if all goes well I’ll be getting an autism awareness puzzle piece tattoo at the parlor that started my addiction. 100% of their proceeds will go to Autism Speaks. How can I say no to that? I’ll totally get inked for that. Of course, I’ll get inked for no reason at all so  that should go without saying.

Then the next Saturday I’ve got a bagpipe gig coming up that a local friend has commissioned me to play. His son is a budding tattoo artist and will just so happen to be doing tattoos as this big bash. Well, what better payment for a gig than a new tattoo? Money? Psh. That shit’s temporary. A sick tattoo? That’s for LIFE. As far as the design, I’ll appropriately be getting a Scottish themed tattoo – I’ll be getting a sgian dubh (“black knife” in Scots-Gaelic – it’s the dagger worn under the kilt hose) over a Saltire flag backdrop on my outer right calf (where I would carry it) The artist has already shown me the sketch and it’s bad-fucking-ass! Oh I can’t wait to get it.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – tattoos are a way of life for me. Granted, as much as I love the process my tattoos have to have meaning to me so finding designs that jive with me can be difficult (not to mention empty wallet syndrome), but whatever the case, let’s go go go!!!!!