Sunday, February 14, 2016

I don't know who you are anymore (a.k.a. being true to oneself)

The other morning Phil Collins found his way to my Pandora Internet Radio Station. "In the Air Tonight." The former me would have reflexively leapt to the radio and changed the station to pretty much anything else- including commercials. I didn't change the station that morning. I listened to Phil Collins because I actively like that particular song, and I no longer feel the need for my music selections to be cool, trendy, underground, or otherwise. Nor do I feel the need to be closeted in my like for Phil Collins, so much so that it is now published on the Internet for all to see.

When my husband found out I started writing this blog, he said to me, "I don't know who you are anymore!" This was coupled with the "new" information that I happen to really love Johnny Cash's version of "Hurt," of Nine Inch Nails The Downward Spiral fame. I say "new" because this should have not been new information to anyone, really, as it's a fantastic rendition of an already great song, but when I started publicly writing about my personal struggles (and liking Johnny Cash/NIN), I somehow didn't fit who my husband perceived me to be. He had to adjust his perception of me, and I'm fine with that, and though I can't speak for him, I think he was fine with that, too. 

So why confess that I'm down with Phil Collins? Not just Genesis Phil Collins (that was always OK), but regular ol' solo artist Phil Collins. To illustrate a change that happened slowly over time and all at once. I say slowly over time because I think confidence sometimes accompanies age and experience (but not always), but all at once because of my experience with my sort of cancer and surgery. I don't care what you think of me anymore. You think I'm a bossy know-it-all akin to Hermione Granger? Fine. You don't like me? Yep, I probably know you don't like me (and I don't care). You don't agree with my viewpoints, political, religious, or otherwise? Oh, well. Don't get me wrong. I care about YOU, your thoughts and opinions (even if they don't align with mine), and your mere existence in this magnificent life, but I don't care what you think of me. Really. Sure, I still get insecure at times. For example, writing like this leaves me feeling a bit vulnerable, but overall, I'm doing what I do because I want to. Not because of how you will perceive me. 

In addition to the admission that I unapologetically like Phil Collins, I have physical evidence to provide. 

Excuse the low-quality photo, but that is MY arm. That's right, I got a tattoo. More specifically, Chris (my husband) "gave" me the tattoo for Christmas. No, I haven't lost my mind and let Chris come anywhere near me with a needle, but he got me the artist and appointment, and he paid for it. Before my surgery, I didn't want a tattoo. I didn't have anything against the tattooed, it just wasn't my thing. Once my surgery forever altered my anatomy, the idea of forever altering the color of my skin with a pretty design didn't seem so outrageous of a choice for me to make for myself. To reiterate, I did this because I wanted to. Not because of what others would think of me, positively or negatively, but because I saw a design that would make an awesome tattoo. Obviously, the photo above shows a just glimpse of the bottom of my tattoo. I don't have only three-fifths of a book tattooed to my right arm. Some of you have seen my tattoo in person, but the rest of you will have to wait for the day I feel like showing you the entire piece via the Internet. Know me IRL (in real life)? Just ask to see it and I'll gladly show you. 

The reactions to my tattoo have been varied. The best was probably one of my sisters who seemed shocked that I, of all people, had just gone and gotten a tattoo one day. I've also gotten "I don't like tattoos." Well, I do. If you aren't in to tattoos? Fine. You could choose to alter the way you think of me as one of "those" people who has tattoos (c'mon, what does that even mean?). Or, you could alter the way you think of people who have tattoos. Don't like me AND you don't like my tattoo? No need to adjust your perception at all, then. A psychologist I know theorizes that people with health problems are more likely to get tattoos because it's a way to control something about their bodies. I think there's some truth to that. Did the tattoo change me? No, but I changed and got a tattoo.

I hope you have enjoyed my confessions of the day. Phil Collins, blog writing, Johnny Cash, NIN, and finally, my tattoo. I feel like I should somehow weave "Hurt" ("I hurt myself today, to see if I still feel.") with my tattoo story, but I didn't think the tattoo hurt at all, and I don't feel like speaking in clich├ęs right now. I'll save that for another day, maybe the day I show you the rest of my tattoo =) .

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