I’ve been getting some work done on a big leg piece, and today, we were filling in quite a bit of color. After about 45 minutes or so, it’s starting to get raw and painful. So, I’m vocal about it. The owner of the shop was walking through, and he’s almost 100% covered in vibrant, gorgeous tattoos. Yeah, even in the “sensitive” bits (holy crap was I impressed!) He noticed I was really struggling, and started up a very enlightening conversation with me.
He told me everything that’s worth anything in life requires going through pain. The things we have gone through in our own lives are way more painful than what getting a tattoo feels like. Go through the pain to come out the other side a better person. When talking about tattoos specifically, you are going through the pain to express yourself and feel better about yourself by adding this onto your body. If you just breathe through it and accept the pain, it’s way easier on both you and the artist. With anything in life, you have to go through some hard things to learn valuable lessons. He said stop fighting it, and accept it hurts, and it won’t be nearly as bad. You’ll be in a better mental state, and you’ll feel more accomplished after it’s finished.
Huh… fight… flight… avoidance… acceptance. Familiar? These are also the four choices any dog has when faced with a stressor. My job is to help them reach acceptance, which can take quite a bit of time in some cases. Personally, I fight (a lot), and then flight sometimes (In a tattoo’s case, I literally try to have the rest of my body crawl away from the pain)… I never reach acceptance when dealing with pain. I put up a huge fuss about it and bitch and act like a baby. So, this time, I breathed through it, and focused on the end result.
This tattoo means something really deep to me. I haven’t been able to accurately express what this creature signifies to me when explaining it to another person. It’s a childhood feeling of nostalgia. When I’m down, feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or feeling belittled, I think about this creature subconsciously. I never realized I did it until recently, however. I’ve had a fanart picture in my drawing notebook for years, and I found it when I was packing up some of my things.
The creature itself is called a Moomba and represents purity, bravery, friendship, selflessness, courage, integrity, nobility and strength. I also think these creatures are incredibly intelligent, but not in a ‘booksmart’ way, but with morals. They help people who deserve it, they would give every last thing they own to someone who is in need, they will defend the weak, they stand by their word, never lie, and they don’t give up when things get hard, they dream big. What it means to me is who I want to be at my core. All of these things are core values of who I believe I am. This creature is the definition of beauty to me.
Once I started to think about all this, the pain kind of disappeared. I wasn’t even thinking about the pain anymore, just putting this amazing permanent reminder of what type of person I want to be on my body. And how good it made me feel. Then, there was hardly any pain at all, and it was more excitement.
So, acceptance. Accept that it will hurt, and then let it go, and move on. This was a very cool, very simple life lesson I’m trying to practice here. And actually quite relevant to other areas of my life as well…