One of the things I love most about my life is that I’m pretty sure the Universe is constantly messing with me. This, I suspect, is the trade-off for having a wicked sense of humor… whoever is in charge up there thinks it’s cool to play jokes on you. Daily.
Take this, for example…
If you’re having trouble figuring out exactly what the joke is, please look closely at the light fixture.
Really, little black bird? Who is just sitting there looking at my painting of little black birds.
That’s… not weird at all.
(Totally different than this little back bird, by the way.)
This little guy actually had some string caught around his feet, so it’s a good thing he found his way inside so I could untangle him before letting him go outside.
I suspect the cat is responsible for this… Making life imitate art that imitates life.
I decided to follow suit in my own way, actually.
That, my friends, is photographic evidence that I can actually sit still for more than five minutes at at time. Basically that only happens if someone is holding my arm hostage with a needle.
So. Let’s have a serious moment and talk a little about needles and ink, shall we?
This tattoo has been in the making for about a year (if you want to be literal about it) or a lifetime if you’re feeling philosophical. (And, frankly, you shouldn’t be feeling philosophical on a Tuesday unless there is a lot of alcohol involved.)
My own personal feeling about tattoos is that they are one of the most amazing things we can do to our bodies, and here’s why: they’re permanent, and you get to choose them. Unlike pretty much ALL of the other things about your body that are mostly permanent and you don’t get to choose like your height, your coloring, the random arrangement of your facial features. You don’t get to pick those things. I know, because if you did, I’d be some 6’5″ muscled behemoth who could sling railroad ties through the air like they were toothpicks. Instead I’m 5’3″ (on a good day), I’ve got my mothers nose, my fathers eyes, the height of a smurf, and all the natural grace of a water buffalo. Oh, and the desire to run a farm and build houses.
My experience has been that most of our adult lives are spent just accepting the hand we’re dealt. We spend a lot of time believing that because our skin is stretched a certain way we’re less capable than others of doing whatever it is we want to do.
And, I mean, here’s what I’ve got to say about it… fuck that. I’ve spent a lot of time believing that myself, except that feeling pisses me off so much that it often motivates me to do exactly the thing that people tell me I can’t.
And this isn’t just about building things or working a farm or using power tools. This is about just living life in the skin we’re in.
While I’ve alluded in the past to the fact that the first year of owning the Liberty House was a very difficult time for me emotionally, I’ve never really elaborated on it. That’s because, as it turns out, I haven’t been able to sit down and write an entire post on my eating disorders. (I know, right? You didn’t know I was going to bring up some serious effing shit on a Tuesday. Me either.) You guys, what you should know is that I’ve got pages and pages written on this subject. Posts I’ve started and abandoned countless times in the last year. There’s a story there that I feel needs to be told, but I haven’t found the right words yet, and finding the right words is a thing that becomes important when a decade of your life is up on the Internet for public consumption.
Here’s what I’ll say right now… that shit sucked. When you start focusing on how you look to other people instead of the badass things you can do? Instead of owning and loving the hell out of your body because of the badass things it can do? That’s not a happy place.
I spent over a year in that place, and then I pulled myself out. I used coaching, and common sense, and the logical realization that being able to do what I loved was more important that looking the way that other people thought I should look, and finally regained a healthy balance in my life when it came to food, eating, energy, and not being a fucking crazy person who listened to what everyone else told her instead of what she told herself.
But, I’ll tell you what… it’s a struggle. I’ve had, over the last 4 years, five different TV shows pitched about me. Shows that are (occasionally) more focused on how I look that who I am. I’ve had people pitch things to me for this website that make me question my values. And while the beauty of a website like this is that it rarely has anything to do with how you look physically, it often has something to do with how you interact with the world. Those things put pressure on what you do and how you view yourself.
So the idea formed, when I finally felt that I’d returned to the core of who I am, that I wanted a permanent reminder of that. I wanted a permanent, visible reminder of the things I’d chosen that make me who I am. Every time I write something, every time I pick up a hammer and build something, I want to remember that my life led me here, and what I truly believe about myself and my life.
The life I’ve chosen has demanded that I be strong when I wanted to be weak. It’s asked me to do things I didn’t think I could do. It has, in fact, made me the best version of myself that I thought I could be. Something that is difficult to remember sometimes, when it feels like the entire world is telling you to be something different. So I created a permanent reminder for myself…
If you happen to follow my Art|Ink board on Pinterest, you know this is a long time coming. The black feather has been the symbol of this farm from the very beginning. I spent four months finding the right tattoo artist, another two months to get an appointment with him. And a day after I had a feather permanently inked on my forearm, the Nuggets left this for me, right in front of the barn…
And whether it’s birds in my house, cats on my drawings, or ink on my arm, I have to admit, when life imitates art imitating life, for me, it just feels right.
You might be personally uncomfortable with tattoos. You might also wonder why I choose to do the things I do the way that I do them (which, let’s be honest, is often the hard way). That’s okay too. My hope, in putting my stories out here for everyone to read, isn’t that you do the things I do, or believe the things I believe. What I’m trying to do is live the most authentic life for myself that I can, and I share my life in hopes that everyone who reads this website is inspired to do the same.