About a week back I got drunk and got a tattoo.
The state of being drunk was not the catalyst for the tattoo, rather the state I happened to be in when I did it. I had decided to get the tattoo hours earlier when I had brought my laptop out to the bar of the guesthouse to make a few calls and get some travel plans handled. I was enjoying a beer while doing this. As I sat back sipping my beer, finished with the things that needed to be done, I had a vision of a small heart on the inside of my left wrist. Maybe it was because I was looking at the tattoo artist at the time or maybe it was the plethora of hearts I had been seeing everywhere for weeks now; maybe none, or all of the above. Point is, there was a vision, swiftly followed by a decision. But the plan was to wait until the right time.
My intended single beer turned into… many, along with many new friends. 4 Swedes, 2 Brits, 4 Thai (including the tattoo artist) and Me = a really good time. This is one of my favorite parts of traveling, making friends with the locals and other travelers as I go. It’s how this whole trip is going to be possible. I have met so many people from all over the world over my last 16 years of travel and now, I get to visit them all!
Another favorite part of traveling is the insanity and hilarity that happens along the way with the people you meet. At one point of the evening, well, maybe closer to morning, I traded one of the Thai guys my half drunk beer for his bike. This seemed like a perfectly reasonable trade to him and I honestly didn’t need to continue drinking. Win, win.
Off I go on my newly commandeered bici, happy as a clam. There are after all, few things I enjoy more than a late night bici ride. They always put me in a great mood and directly into the Flow. For those of you unfamiliar with the Flow, it is that beautiful place you find yourself when you quite trying to swim up stream and let yourself fall into the flow of energy around you. You are still steering your ship, you’re just moving with the current instead of against it. This is exactly where the bici ride put me.
I arrive back to the guesthouse to a smaller version of the group I left. The Thai gentleman I had traded my beer for his bike, is unsuccessfully trying to navigate you tube for music. One of the Swedes comes up and asks me to draw a heart for him on his ankle. I oblige, humored that yet again hearts are showing up and then proceed to begin drawing one on my wrist. My interest is peeked when his buddy comes up and asks for the same. I follow him into the tattoo shop where hearts are being made permanent. I guess now is “the right time”, or at least as good a time as any.
Fast forward a week and I’m sitting on a beach on the Thai island of Koh Lanta. I have been trying to write this blog for a week now but the words and the inspiration would just not come. At this time I’m grumpy and being hard on myself. I have successfully ruined my heart tattoo and my actual heart is very heavy over this.
I have had around 20 hours of tattoo work done and I know its best not to get the artwork wet for a few weeks, but after an hours nap I’m not really thinking as I crawl onto the boat for my day long dive excursion. Hell, I’m barely standing. My heart survives the day; I only do 2 dives instead of 3 since I napped through the second of the day. It looks like I have dodged a bullet. I’m not even thinking about how the water might affect the heart.
But today, it registers. Since the dive I have tried to keep it dry, covering it with waterproof band-aids for ocean and shower time. But they inevitably leak and I have now resolved to simply not get in the water again. Maybe it will heal enough to get it redone when I get back to Ao Nang in 4 days.
This is a fate worse than death. My Mother will be the first to tell you that while she gave birth to me, that she birthed a fish, not a human. I live to be in the water and had lengthy arguments with her as I was growing up about how I can actually breath underwater. The Little Mermaid is off her rocker; the ocean is way cooler than the land. Bitch be trippin’.
I’m sad, I’m angry with myself, I’m angry at the situation and I’m WORRIED. Ouch, there is that word again. That pointless word for the most pointless of feelings. There is nothing I can do. If it’s ruined, it’s ruined. I’m in the process of obsessing over how I can get the band-aids to work when it occurs to me that I’m missing everything happening around me. I’m on a freaking island in Thailand! When I was in the water I stuck up a conversation with a few people but got out because the band-aid started to leak. What had I missed to protect my heart?
“What are you missing while worrying about protecting your heart?”
Did anybody else just hear that? Cause it kinda just slapped me in the face. I had to sit down to contemplate this one. My heart is still broken, as much as I will it to not be. The breaker would have been here with me now and it would have been our anniversary. I hadn’t even realized this. I had been too busy putting band-aids on it. I noticed over the last few weeks how angry I still am and how I’m still struggling with the paradox of Loving someone and Hating them at the same time.
Maybe it wasn’t the ocean that ruined my heart, maybe it was a much needed reminder that a broken heart can’t be fixed with band-aids. It has to be allowed space and time to heal itself. That might not be pretty, or convenient, but it will always be perfect. Worrying and protecting won’t do any good; it will just take the attention away from the beauty of the journey.
I don’t know what’s going to happen to my heart. It might heal in time to get a fresh coat of paint or I might have to wait until another opportunity presents itself. It might just end up leaving a really cool scar. And who knows what will happen with the tattoo. Either way, I’m getting in the ocean!
UPDATE:-) Turns out Im allergic to the ink. Good thing I didn’t give up the ocean!