Cutting Against Your Own Grain

The company for which I work has a shutdown period that occurs between Christmas and New Year’s every year.  Truth be told, it’s a pretty darn nice benefit, especially given the fact that it’s a time of where I would be looking to take that time off regardless.  I have spent that time doing a variety of activities, depending on the year.  Sometimes I will chuck in a week of vacation right before it starts and I will end up being out of the office like 17 straight days.  Needless to say… it was freakin’ awesome.

This past year I decided I wanted to get myself going on a blog that I would consistently update and I wanted it to have a much more professional look and feel.  As I was reading something from the absolutely sublime Pamela Slim, I saw her mention an offer from this guy named Johnny B. Truant to set up a WordPress blog for you at a pretty reasonable cost.  Intrigued, I meandered on over to his site and was immediately hooked by his tag line of “The Internet made awesome.”  Plus he dropped a lot of amusing f-bombs in his posts that made me chuckle.  Have I mentioned before I often have the emotional maturity of an 11 year old?  Hmm.  Maybe that’s why youth baseball coaching appeals to me… I can relate.

Fast forward to today (a whole 4 and a half months) and I was perusing the blogs I enjoy.  I came across a post from Johnny entitled “Revolution and Evolution (part 1)“.  Seems the good Mr. Johnny has had a rough go of things over the last few years and despite never having ink in his entire life, he is going to get tattoos on both his arms.  He writes in that post:

I want a tattoo because I’ve encountered some adversity over the past few years and have fought successfully through it. That adversity left scars — very cool, very large scars with a story behind them. Only, they’re scars you can’t see. I kind of want the tattoos because I want people to be able to see those scars — and to be able to see them myself, so I’ll always remember what I’ve learned.

David Beckham

That really struck me.  See, I’m not exactly a wild child.  I’m basically a classic middle child – a bit of an overachiever, looking to please everyone and trying really, really hard to be nice all the time.  While I am definitely a complete goofball, I am also a little bit conservative in the sense I am not out there bungee jumping, wrestling bonobos or even getting tattoos.  Hell, I had an earring in college for 24 hours (almost to the exact minute) and then ditched it because I just didn’t think it was me.  I had it long enough to call my Mom and freak her out (which was very satisfying in its own right… sorry Mom!).

But I ain’t the guy that is living a super wild life in most sense of the word… and yet… I totally understand where Johnny is coming from and I have become more and more intrigued with the idea of getting a tattoo.  Seriously.

“Why, oh, WHY???” you may ask (at least almost everyone in my family would ask).  Good question.

I’ve never been opposed to the idea of getting a tattoo.  My problem has always been that if I am going to get something placed on my body for the rest of my damn life, it sure as hell better be something that speaks to core of who I am as a human being and who I aspire to be.  Anything less is absolutely unacceptable and I would never get a tattoo unless that firm requirement was met with a little room to spare.

Ahh, but I haven’t answered the paramount question of “Why?”  Like Johnny, I’ve had a few rough patches over the last few years and I have come through (well, mostly come through) on the other side a little nicked up and rough around the edges, but unbowed and I think I’m a better man because of all of it.  Plus, I am the sort of person who believes that in order to have a successful and fulfilling life, it’s important to have a set of principles on which to ground yourself.  I think that’s a lot of what helped me through some of my rougher times – that foundation of knowing who I was and who I wanted to be.

I want to be the guy who treats people the way I want to be treated… even if that other person is a douchebag.  I want to live with honor.  I want to live with integrity.  I want to live with determination.  I want to never be afraid to risk getting my heart broken because if I hold back, I’ll never get the chance at experiencing great love.  I want to live in balance (this one is hard for me).  I want to never forget how much of this life is a gift and I should never, ever, EVER take that for granted… because I’ve seen how life can jump up and kick some amazing people in the teeth without any provocation or sense of it being deserved.  Anyone can suffer that fate… so embrace the good and the opportunities you see now.

So I think I would get one to mark what I feel represents who I am and where I belong in this world.  I am slowly settled on a design in my head which I plan on keeping to myself.  I also think that if I end up going through with all of this, I would place it in a fairly discrete spot because I would be getting it as a reminder for myself and no one else.

Is any of this in character for me?  I want to say no and that’s why I entitled this post what I did… but as I sit and ponder, maybe it’s not that crazy and not all that strange.  Sometimes you have to take that big risk to get that big reward.  Time to get my butt up off the sidelines and into the game.  God help me.

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