It’s easy to let other people define who we are. If you are told you are something over and over again it’s pretty difficult to not start to believe it. In certain cases I think it’s almost impossible. This is why people usually pick up the good and bad habits of their parent’s and the people they grow up with.
The only way to break the cycle is to have the awareness of what’s actually happening, and then consciously focusing on believing something different. I’m sure you have heard over and over again that our thoughts define our reality. I know this realization scares the shit out of me, but it’s also extremely powerful because it means we have a choice.
Like most kids, I’ve always tried to make my parent’s happy and proud. I’m sure I have been a huge brat at times, but for the most part I try to do the things that I know they will approve of. I don’t think I’ve always been successful at this, but I do my best with what I’ve got. Unlucky for them, I have an aversion to following the status quo, which is why I became an entrepreneur before I even graduated!
For as long as I can remember, I have thought tattoos were really cool. The thought of art on skin is pretty rad, plus it’s badass because it’s there forever! But, as much as I like how they (mostly) look on other people, I also had the thought in my head that I could never get one because my mom would kill me!
I spend a lot of time in NYC, and I can remember a few late nights stumbling around St Marks and my beloved cousin suggesting that I get something to remember my favorite city by. As much as the thought was exciting, I immediately saw my mom’s disapproving face in my head. Plus needles are scary 🙁
When I was in Bali last month, I was drawn to the scared geometry everywhere, especially the Seed of Life. I looked up the meaning of the 7 interlocking circles, and they represent the universal symbol of creation. It also represents the 7 chakras, which I learned a lot about in Bali. It’s very interesting stuff so I suggest you ask Mr. Google more about sacred geometry.
On the last day of my trip, I was hanging out with a friend whose arms are covered in tattoos. He was telling me the meaning of them and asked me if I would ever get one. I told him that I had always wanted to but didn’t think I was really a ‘tattoo person.’ But I did mention the thought of getting the Seed of Life had crossed my mind while in Bali. After a couple drinks, and a little convincing, I was sitting in a (very classy) bike shop getting my first tattoo on my forearm!
I don’t really remember it hurting that much, but I did feel like I was breaking through a lot of limiting beliefs of who I was and who I wasn’t. Doing something so out of character was extremely liberating. Also, I came to peace with the idea that my mom would be pissed for a while, but it would be ok.
Last weekend, my parent’s flew my brother and I out to Edmonton for Thanksgiving. I was a little stressed leading up to the trip because I didn’t know how to tell my mom about the tattoo. Since it’s in such a visible place I knew I couldn’t just cover it up. An hour or so before my flight, I decided to send her a text that said, “I got a tattoo in Bali. It looks nice so don’t be mad!!!” Her response was a shocking “just as long as it’s not something creepy like a snake.” WTF?!
I was shocked! My mom totally didn’t care. When my parent’s picked us up from the airport she didn’t say more than “oh that’s kinda cute.” In my head I built this story that my mom would be so disapproving, but in reality she was totally cool about it. My anticipation was completely out of proportion.
When I was reflecting about my mom’s reaction I realized that so much of what can stop us in life is the fear of how the people around us will react. We don’t want to disappoint or change the way they see us. This can become the perfect excuse to not do something we really want to do.
Getting a tattoo was a way to symbolize to myself that I can be anything I decide I want to be. I don’t need permission from my friends, society or most importantly my mom! She will love me for who I am, and just wants me to be happy. This is what makes her most proud.
It’s impossible to not let people tell you who you are, just make sure it’s the person you most want to be. Make up your own rules and definitions, because you just need to be the human you really are.
Have you ever done anything that you thought was going to freak out your parent’s and they weren’t fazed at all? Please share below 🙂
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