I recently got ‘inked’.
I am not terribly urbane or hipster. I don’t have a beard and I am not a mixologist but nowadays, every man (and woman) and his dog are getting tattoos. Its very de rigueur.
Growing up in my generation (born 1977) ‘tatts’ were seen as something that criminals, serviceman and rebels had. They weren’t that trendy or accepted. My parents absolutely decreed that tattoos were a ‘no go’ zone (for their kids that is…and for themselves I suppose).
So this was a significant moment.
I have friends from my childhood who are also battling with having their first tattoo. Hamstrung, I suppose, by the same trepidation that held me back. Well, in truth, I saw so many tragic, f*ck ups for tatts that I was repelled by them for years. But as better artists and artistry emerged, I started to appreciate, well, the art in the whole affair.
So I sought advice. First port of call was a liberally stained chum from school. I hadn’t seem him in years and we happened to collide back in our old home town. This was fortuitous, if not unlikely, given we both lived on remote islands in the far East at the time. I digress. His advice was resolute. “Get it on your back and get a picture. Don’t get script or words.” Superb advice. I gave a contemplative nod.
As it turned out, I ignored his advice completely. I literally couldn’t have made a more contrary choice. I got script. On my arm.
I decided to get something that I could use. I appreciate that sounds odd. I didn’t get a map or a diving table or anything practical like a dictionary. But I did get some words that I knew would act as triggers in my life.
Now, before I reveal my stupendously uninspiring tattoo, I have come to appreciate that tattoos are a deeply personal thing. By that I mean that what one person decides will be engrained to eternity in their skin, another person wouldn’t have as a tattoo if you paid them! I see people’s tattoos, and some of them are really delightful, but in no way do I see why they chose to have that etched into permanency. I just don’t get it.
I am not supposed to. That’s the point, its personal. Deeply.
So I chose three words, in Italian. Why I went with Italian is just a whole other story and I am not getting into it. But suffice to say, it has significance. Obviously.
Forza – Coraggio – Avventura
Forza meaning strength. Coraggio meaning courage and avventura meaning adventure. Words to live by.
Strength – there will be times in life where we/I will be required to exert strength. Physical, emotional, mental…you get the picture.
Courage – I spend an alarming amount of time fearing what I am about to do. I like to think its because I am trying scary things rather than I am just scared shitless of everything. But I can’t be sure. Nevertheless, this is the biggest trigger of all. I use this image. I literally look at it when the fear starts to build. And it crushes the paralysis that fear can cause. It doesn’t take the fear away. Courage doesn’t do that. Courage needs fear for it to exist. But this works for me.
Adventure – A.K.A life. Life can be unpredictable, it can be shitty, hard, and then fun and exhilarating. It is a frigging rollercoaster. It can be an adventure, should you choose it to be. This is my reminder. Live with adventure and go looking for the unknown.
In essence, these three words were carefully selected to drive me to push past limits, man the ‘F’ up and live life well. Hilariously, I very nearly bottled out of having the tattoo. Oh the irony! You should have seen how desperately deflated the tattoo artist was when I explained my ‘detailed and intricate’ tattoo to him. I am sure he was hoping it would be something elaborate. It took about 15 minutes from start to finish. Plenty long enough in my book.
I love my ink (thankfully). I use it daily.
And yet it leaves just one question, what on earth do I get next?
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Keynote Speaker – Author – Investor – Living in Bali – Working globally