"Tattoos are addicting. You're going to want more and more." This is what I heard from a number of people when I started telling them I was going to get this ONE, SPECIAL tattoo.
I've always wanted to get a tattoo, but I also knew that I'd want it to:
- have meaning and
- be in a spot that also had meaning.
I would wait for the day when it could no longer be helped and the 2 requirements to be fulfilled were glaringly obvious to me, instead of something I had to figure out. Well that day came after about a whole year of obsession with the subject of FEAR.
My acting coach, Stuart Rogers, always says, "Let's find out how the scene goes. Rather than playing the scene, let the scene play on you." Well I have adopted this philosophy not only in my acting, but in other art forms as well including dance, voice over acting and martial arts. The experience of discovering something is so much more fulfilling and exciting than having a plan and simply executing it. It occurred to me one day that this same philosophy, "Let's find out" can be applied when you find yourself in a fearful situation: When we are afraid of something it's often times due to the fact that we don't know how the situation will play out and we imagine the worst case scenario. However, take that same unknown and get CURIOUS about it and think, "Let's find out how this will go! Let's make this an adventure!" And just as easy as it is to imagine the worst case scenario, we can practice imagining the BEST case scenario. This changes a fearful situation into an exciting one simply by changing our perception and expectations.
I found this revelation of mine so deeply important that I knew it was now a part of me and I wanted to truly own it and be reminded of it daily. So I tattooed the words, "Let's Find Out" on my body. And not just anywhere on my body, but on the outside edge of my right foot.
Why my foot? Remember, I said the location of the tat also had to have meaning. Well, I have flat feet which means I have no point which means I have horrible dancer's feet. And growing up as a dancer from the age of 3 to 17, I was extremely self conscious of this fact and always tried to hide my feet, afraid that I would be judged and looked down upon for trying to be a dancer when I didn't have legitimate dancer's feet (oh, the ridiculous limitations we can place on ourselves). So I figured this was a good time in my life to embrace one of those parts of me that has caused FEAR in me for so long.
Now, I've always heard that the top of the foot is the most painful spot for getting a tattoo. With no basis for comparison I can say that it is indeed the most centralized, physical pain I have ever had to deal with. However, the beauty of this whole situation was that while I was laying there dealing with the pain, it occurred to me that I could use this same mantra: "Let's find out" as a way to also manage the pain. Rather than rejecting the sensation because it hurt, I sat WITH the pain and said to myself, "LET'S FIND OUT how this feels rather than labeling it as pain and rejecting it." The process of dealing with the sensation that way was such a challenge, so fun and so insightful. I can't wait to get my next tattoo! ;)