Ahhh 30. I thought you would never come. As most of you know by now, the days leading up to my 30th birthday were not what I imagined they would be. By Sunday, my birthday, I was too exhausted to do anything but throw on a pair of pajamas and drink some champagne.
My birthday felt pretty uneventful, but after so many eventful days, I was happy to live without any drama, any excitement, any unexpected crazy.
I had originally intended to get a tattoo on my 30th, but I postponed that due to the exhaustion and champagne drinking. So, Monday after work, I met my husband at a local yogurt shop, needing some chocolate courage. I ate the fro-yo slowly, attempting to get okay with what I was about to do. After the bowl was empty and there was no other reason to stay, I took a rattled sigh and made my way to the tattoo parlor.
When I told the guy at the front desk that I wanted a simple set of wings in white, I was instantly met with skepticism.
“Um, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” the man said. “White tattoos fade faster and tend to look almost peachy. They don’t actually look like tattoos, more like scars.”
“I know,” I said. “That’s what I want.”
“You won’t be able to get anything ornate,” he said, as he showed me the different types of wings they had. “You can only do something simple.”
“I know,” I said. “That’s what I want.”
As the needle whirred to life, I felt my heart begin to race. I looked at my husband, who was dutifully holding my hand, and closed my eyes as the needle touched my skin. I then spent the next ten minutes wincing and trying not to let my nausea turn into full on vomiting.
It hurt. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I got used to it or that I was fine after the first few pricks. I wasn’t. It really freaking hurt, like the needle had just come out of a fire and was burning my skin in long, dragged strokes.
But it was so completely worth it.
I had the idea for the wings back in 2004 when I went backpacking through Europe. I was walking past a tattoo parlor in Naples, Italy with my traveling companion and seriously considered going in and getting a set of wings. But since I don’t speak Italian, I figured that could end up being a bad decision. After that, I lost the courage to go through with it.
When I was in Europe, I liked the idea of wings as a symbol of me flying free of life’s struggles and worries. Now it symbolizes the idea that I will always catch myself, that I will never hit rock bottom, that I can hold myself up. I loved the idea of it being white because, once the redness has faded, it will look like a scar, a remembrance of another time.
Even though it was painful, and even though I didn’t think I could make it through, I’ve never been happier with a decision. I love my powerful, delicate wings.
Many people want to know what’s next for me. Am I going to continue the blog? What am I going to write next? First of all, I’m so humbled by these inquires. The fact that anyone other than myself has found value in this blog tickles me silly and makes me smile. I never expected that. But all journeys must come to an end. And Little D, Big Year needs that ending.
That being said, my battle with fear and anxiety is not over. I’ve made incredible changes, but I’m still a work in progress. So, I’ve started The Art of Living Uncomfortably. In it, I’ll be exploring what it means to live outside of the bounds of comfort, how putting myself in awkward situations will help me grow. I’m so excited for this new venture, because this blog will also focus on what other people doing to live uncomfortably. I’m looking forward to focusing on someone other than myself for a little while, and finding crazy ass people like me who believe the only way to progress in life is by stepping outside of your comfort zone.
It’s been a wonderful, scary, insane, subtle, fascinating, life changing experience. Thanks for coming along for the ride, pushing me to go further, sharing your own risks and challenges. Having you along for this crazy trip helped me go beyond my safe boundaries and deeper into who I am and who I want to become.