I Was Made For This

18 Jul

After years of resisting, I am finally ready for my first tattoo. Thanks to my current personal revolution, I am prepared to announce the one thing about me that could possibly last forever- to ink it onto my body, actually.

I didn’t avoid tattoos from fear of needles or pain, and I certainly wasn’t too traditional for such a thing. I started getting piercings when I was 14, after all (in secret- sorry, Mom). I can appreciate tattoos on other people- both the folks who take it very seriously and the ones with a couple of dots they gave themselves while drunk or the butterfly they and their bestie got at 16 or whatever. I mean, I had my hair colored almost all the colors of the rainbow in my adolescence; what’s not to love about people’s creative bodily expression?

But a tattoo for me? No, thank you. I’ve resisted tattoos because I detest the idea of permanence. Nothing is supposed to last forever and ever. The world and I are in constant evolution; how could I commit to the same piece of art on my body for all of my eternity? Yikes! It reeks of inflexibility, of unvaried monotony. It suggests to me somehow that my being is a fixed, boring state and not the ever-adapting whirlwind that is really me.

Plus by the time I became a legal adult I was much more interested in throwing all my expendable income at travel rather than on a tattoo. For all these years I’ve been like, “Nah; got more important stuff to pay for,” even more so now that I have children. Really, though, if all your basic needs in life are met, what else is more valuable than art and self-expression?

In the past few months I’ve been in a wildly energizing transition. I’ve been more excited than exhausted at the end of many days, staying up later to read or write or just ponder the universe rather than falling helplessly into my pillow as soon as my incessant to-do list is mostly completed. These days I’m making plans that are partly based on what I want rather than just steadfastly continuing the path of “this is what must be done now.” Suddenly, I feel like I have options in life. Like I have some modicum of control over my major life decisions. For the very first time in the five years since I’ve become a parent and moved to small town Mexico, I feel like ME again. I feel like I’ve reconciled Parent/Living in Mexico Julia with Pre-Parent/Living in the States/Traveling Julia, finally forming a complete, free-flowing human personality. I’m finally a parent but not only a parent. At last I have a sense of continuity in my being, instead of a “before” and “after” me.

It helps that I’m finally neither pregnant nor nursing. Yes, I am responsible for two little people who require inordinate amounts of my time and energy, but my physical body is no longer consumed by them. I wanted to be pregnant and I wanted to nurse them both but it makes a giant difference in my energy to not be absorbed by all that anymore.

Because I’m not quite as physically tied to the kids, I also have slightly more time now for non-parent things. I’m still playing volleyball almost every Friday night, but I’m also going out once a week or so for a beer with one of my girlfriends. I started splurging on a babysitter for some weekend afternoons, so I could do errands on my bicycle (oh the joy of my leg muscles working and the wind in my face), and then adding in a lunch date with a friend or an outing with Conan. Yes, my children need Mommy time and my work schedule doesn’t allow for enough time with them. Despite that, I am still in need of some time for myself. I am an extrovert through and through; I NEED to be around other adults in order to recharge my battery. Going to work is enough interaction to survive, but not to thrive. The happier and more fulfilled and like myself I feel, thanks to these “stolen” moments, the better I am able to parent in all the moments when I am with my children. It is a win-win situation, even when they whine and cry while I’m walking out the door.

My access to music has been crucial in this transition, too. Before, I had very little access to music that I like. We don’t have home internet so that rules out Youtube and the like. Often I didn’t have time to go through my CDs, pick out the one I want, and get it on the computer while getting myself and the kids ready in the morning. But we bought a decent car in January, and it included a CD player! Finally, I could rock out down the road, singing (screaming) along and bopping in my seat. It was something from my before-life that I desperately craved and couldn’t have. Then I paid one of my students to download music onto a USB- hundreds of songs from my Youtube playlists and other songs that I hadn’t had access to in years, all in one place that I can access on the computer, in the car, on my cell phone. It was a music revolution for me, and it’s been a complete replenishment of my spirit.

Many moments of many days now, I feel gloriously wild and free, despite all my responsibilities. I’ve started making all kinds of radical decisions. Not just to stay up late a couple times a week, either. I quit my job. My perfect job. The one that had my name all over it. The one that was the absolute best job I could possibly get in my small town. Yep. Over. Done. Of my own volition. Have I lost my mind? Yes! But I have other plans and ideas for work and money, and I’m confident I’ll make it all work, because I always do. I’m spending almost two months in the US, evaluating my options. Being open. Not feeling stuck. I’m out of the mindset that there’s only one viable possibility for my family. Any decisions from here on out are going to be because that’s the decision I am choosing with the whole family’s interests in mind, including mine. It’ll be a decision that I actively make, and not a decision I feel like was forced upon me from cruel outside forces above and beyond me. I don’t have any illusions that I can control much of what happens in my life, but I have every expectation of being able to handle how I react to what happens. I don’t plan to be a victim of circumstance any more, at least not in my mind and heart.

At 33, after so many transitions, so many external and internal changes, countless paradigm shifts and personal evolutions, I’m more and more sure of who I am.

So I’m ready to commit to my forever body art. I know my body’s not forever anyway. I know what things about me are the rock-solid part of my core. I know that my openness to, love for, and dependence on other humans is a big part of that. I know what I will always be in spirit- perpetually in motion, searching and seeking and shifting and evolving, throwing caution to the wind on a regular basis, and relishing all of life’s sweet nectar. I am always changing, but I can depict that endless flow; I can incorporate that eternal movement into something permanent. So here goes! Because I was made for this.



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