Becoming a Piece of Art

No matter how hard I try to plan out my week, I always end up writing my post at the last minute. I spent most of last night working on a birthday gift, reading American Gods, and wrangling a baby ferret.

Fijit figured out how to get into the kitchen sink last night. I definitely need that extra reflex save bonus because Fijit’s cuteness will only save her up to a point. I definitely need an extra benefit to owning this little ball of mischief.

Thankfully, I pretty much know exactly what I want to write about. I want to write about tattoos.

This past Tuesday I had work done on my Ganondorf thigh piece. I’ve been a huge fan of the Legend of Zelda series my entire life and I’ve always wanted a tattoo to reflect my love. I already have a Navi piece on my shoulder and a Majora’s Mask tribute on my other thigh, but I really wanted a massive tribute to my absolute favorite villain of all time, Ganondorf, so I sat down with my artist and we came up with a fucking massive tribute to him.

Whenever I get a new tattoo I get asked the same set of questions: How much did it cost? What does it mean? Why did you get it? How are you going to feel about it when you’re 50?

Well, I’d like to answer these question here so whenever I get these questions I can just refer them here.

How much did it cost?

Obviously I can’t create a “stock” answer for this question because every tattoo is different. My Ganondorf piece at this point has cost four times as much as my bees and it’s still in progress.

The question I can answer is how do I justify paying so much money for a tattoo? Why do I spend so much money on tattoos?

Well, first of all, I don’t have to justify my choices to anyone but myself and my spouse. As long as our bills are paid and our quality of life is stable, I can spend my money how I choose. Also, I bet if I add up all the money you spend on going out to each and getting fancy lattes and buying new clothing, it would be comparable to how much I shell out for a tattoo. So don’t judge!

I choose to sacrifice my ability to go out to eat and buy new clothing all the time because I want quality tattoos. I’m turning myself into a piece of art and I want to make sure it’s good art. If I have to spend a little extra cash that’s fine by me.

What does it mean?

This is another question that will have different answers depending on the tattoo. My slug tattoo is for my grandmother who used to collect banana slugs for her Master Gardeners group. My paw prints are for my beautiful babies, Bandito, Crush, Fijit, and Herman, and for all of my future ferrets.

Well, on the other hand, my bees are just because I like the phrase “bees knees.” My Zelda tattoos are because I like Zelda. Definitely not as poetic as my other tattoos, but again I don’t have to justify my decisions to other people. Getting a tattoo because it’s cute is just as valid as getting a tattoo for a deep personal reason.

Why did you get it?

Why do I get tattoos rather than, for example, investing in art that represents parts of my life? Well, first of all, I like tattoos. I love how tattoos look and how they make me feel. Second of all, there’s something very satisfying about permanently displaying a part of your personality on your skin.

Let me explain.

There are so many instances in our lives where we have to conform to other people’s expectations. When we go to work or go to family functions we have to fit this specific image and it never stops. We never get a reprieve and it’s exhausting. It’s during these moments, when I’m “playing a part,” that my tattoos are the most comforting. Yes, I have to stand up in front of these people and be this other person, but underneath my blazer or my slacks my true personality is permanently displayed on my skin. The world can’t take that away from me.

And, when I get home and change back into my comfy clothes, I get to look in the mirror and be reminded of who I really am.

Wow, I’m feeling very emo. Excuse me while I go to Hot Topic and purchase some band t-shirts and fish nets.

How are you going to feel about it when you’re 50?

Now this question is the most infuriating for me because the person is obviously assuming I didn’t think this through. I know exactly how long tattoos last, thank you very much.

Anyway, I know for a fact that I’m going to love my tattoos when I’m 50. Reason one: I’m going to be able to look back on my life and know that I did what I wanted when I wanted. Regret goes both ways, my friend. I could regret getting these tattoos or I could regret being too afraid to go out and get inked.

Reason two: Yes, maybe in 30 years I won’t be as in love with Legend of Zelda or bees or ferrets, but for right now these things are my world. These tattoos not only represent my life, they represent a time in my life that I will always look back on fondly. When I’m 50 I’ll look at my skin and remember who I was in my 20s and it will warm my heart.

Reason three: These tattoos are officially a part of my body. Yes, I might look at them and wish something was different, but after carrying them with me for 30+ years I’ll have come to accept them as part of me. Does that make sense? I guess when I think about hating my tattoos, I compare it to hating my nose or my thighs. Yes, there could be days I dislike them, but it’s important to accept the things you cannot change. I realize that I didn’t actively choose to make my nose look the way it does or to make my thighs thick, like how I chose to get a tattoo, but still I’m not going to waste energy hating parts of my body or regretting my decisions.

Sorry! This was quite a rambly post for me. Hopefully this all makes sense.

-EMS

My Skills are Varied as they are Impractical

As you probably remember, Daniel, we had a long conversation on Wednesday about the skills we’ve picked up in our careers that we just can’t put on our resumes. There are so many things I’ve learned since I started my career, things that are invaluable at work and in life in general, but they aren’t super relevant in a job interview.

So, because I can’t share these skills with an interviewer, I’m going to share them on this blog. Now, I’m going to leave off the…ummm…cattier ones we passed around on Wednesday because I don’t want to be mean, but I am going to share some other skills I’ve picked up.

I also want to share some skills I’ve picked up throughout my life that I’m proud of, but no one has ever asked me about. Some things just don’t come up in conversation, but I’m allowed to be proud of myself, gosh darnit.

My skills include:

  • I can bake delicious cookies, which I learned specifically for a work party.
  • I can drink a ton of coffee and still go to sleep at a reasonable time.
  • I can make origami stars.
  • I can make a rug out of old t-shirts.
  • I’m skilled with Google search and can find an answer to any question within an hour.
  • I have experience with a number of Google Chrome extensions that make your browser look extra fancy.
  • I can name all of the masks from Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.
  • I always set up my coffee pot before I go to bed.
  • I can lick my elbow.
  • I have the entire soundtrack to The Little Mermaid memorized.
  • I always put the cap back on my toothpaste when I’m done.
  • I can french braid my hair, kinda.
  • I have extensive knowledge of werewolf mythology.
  • I have extensive knowledge of Greek mythology.
  • I can turn plastic bags into yarn.
  • I can wiggle my ears and my nose.
  • I can recite the Jabberwocky from memory, as well as a majority of Shel Silverstein’s work.
  • I can beat Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in a single day, including getting all of the heart pieces and the Biggoron Sword. 
  • I can unravel a skein of yarn with my eyes closed.
  • I can recite the alphabet backwards.
  • I can draw a very cute cat.
  • I can make bread that actually tastes good.
  • I have extensive knowledge of beer and beer types.

There are more. I know there are more. Dangit, you spend so much time not talking about these skills and you suddenly forget all the neat things you can do. Oh well. 

What are some of yours?

-EMS

My Workspace is my Headspace

This week I’ve been without an office at work. My office is being painted so I’ve been working wherever I can find a table. I’ve been in and out of conference rooms and my coworkers’ offices, trying to get work done without getting in the way.

To be honest, it’s been a little difficult. For me, my workspace often reflects my headspace. If I’m working in a messy space my thoughts tend to be messy and disorganized. Sometimes, when I just can’t find my rhythm while writing, I’ll take a few minutes to clean up my desk or rewrite my notes. It helps me clear my head and clean up my thoughts.

This week, I’ve been without a permanent workspace. I’ve had to carry my office with me and have not had the space to spread out. It’s been difficult to find my rhythm.

It’s not surprising really. I’m not the only person, creative or otherwise, who needs to have some type of routine in my life to feel productive. So many famous writers have routines they like to follow and having a specific space to work in is essential. See? I’m not that strange.

Anyway, what’s really helped me this week, besides my wonderful coworker letting me use her table as my temporary desk, has been my new at-home workspace. My friend built me my own standing desk and then Michael rearranged the living room so I could have my own space right behind the couch. It’s been nice to have a clean desk to work on at home, a space all my own that I don’t have to clear off when I need it. It’s awesome!

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I know not everyone is a fan of routine or really needs routine in their life to be productive. Some people thrive on being impulsive and spur of the moment, which I cannot even begin understand. How in the world do those people stay focused? It baffles me.

Now, not everyone likes routine, but I think everyone should have a designated workspace. I feel like there’s a benefit to having a space set aside for when you want to focus on something, like in my case writing. When you step into that space you know exactly what you should be doing. It helps you get into the right headspace.

The best example I can think of to illustrate this would be clothing.

I feel like everyone had heard the old adage “Dress for the job you want,” which basically means present yourself like how you want to be seen professionally and you’ll get ahead. I think this works, and let me know if you think otherwise, because you’re putting yourself into the right headspace. It’s the same reason dressing up for an interview, even if it’s over the phone, can help you feel more confident. You know exactly what’s going to happen when you present yourself like that. You’re going to be taken seriously.

I feel like the same thing applies to work out clothing. Well, at least it applies to me. When I put on my running shoes and workout clothes, I feel more motivated to actually work out. It’s like my subconscious knows that it’s time to run and I just feel like I need to. It helps me feel focused.

I feel like this is the same reason having a designated workspace is so motivating and helpful. When you sit down at your desk you know exactly what you should be doing. By sitting down, you’ve told yourself and the people around you that it’s time to get shit done, and that can be very motivating.

Or maybe it’s just me.

What do you think, Daniel?

-EMS