Let’s Talk Tattoos and Rock Bottoms

Let's talk about tattoos, shall we?

Whether I am meeting someone for the first time, or seeing someone I've known my whole life, I inevitably get asked three questions about my tattoos.

The first question is, "why?", the second question is, "how many do you have?" and the third question is, "do all of your tattoos have a meaning?"

Where are my inked brothers and sisters?

The first question is easy to answer. 

Because they look Metal as f*ck. That's why.

Question number two is also an easy one.

No clue. I am terrible at math.

The third question is a bit more difficult because there really isn't just one answer. I'm not sure why people think there needs to be a reason for a tattoo or why they would care. People that have tattoos almost never ask any of these questions to another person with tattoos. 

Maybe it’s genuine curiosity or maybe it's just a way to move the conversation along. 

I guess that's reason enough. Life is basically just one long conversation, right?

Recently I've been reflecting on stuff that happened in my "not so sober" life. Mostly because I've been reading my old Dad Blog Out-Numbered (definitely 18+ content. Consider yourself warned.) and it seems as if I wrote most of it in a brown out. Either that or I just have a terrible memory.

Brain cells. It's a thing.

One of the things that I did remember is a blog post I wrote about a specific tattoo. It was just simple graphic lettering that said, STRENGTH TRUTH LOVE. 

Here is a short excerpt of the post. I highly recommend reading the whole thing. I was a funny S.O.B. when I was drinking and taking pain meds. 

This summer, I got some new ink. It's a personal credo or a mantra of sorts. I put it on my arm so I wouldn't forget how important the words are. They have significance to me. It's really quite simple but I've always had trouble sticking to it.

Have Strength. Speak Truth. Give Love.

I figure that if I can do all three of these things, even just a little bit better this year, I will be a better man. I don't need to make a resolution this year. It will only get broken. What I need, is etched in my skin. A permanent reminder.

All I need to do this year is look in the mirror.

It's not a lot to ask of oneself.

Just be better.

Ugh. It's cringy at best. 

Why do I say that?

I say it because it was kind of bullshit. 

I don't mean bullshit as in a lie. In that moment, I was dead set on following that mantra. I could have taken a lie detector test and passed with flying colors.

I needed it to be true but deep down I knew it wasn't possible. Not while I was still drinking and taking pills.

At that time in my life getting that tattoo was a hail Mary pass. It was desperation. I was out of gas both physically and emotionally. I thought that if I had those words staring me in the face every time I looked in the mirror, it would motivate me to stay sober. Instead, it reminded me of just how broken I was.

I was ashamed. 

It made me feel like a fraud and a failure.

There is so much subtext in those words. For my readers and the people that knew me personally it might as well have been the DaVinci Code but looking back at it now, it was a simple cry for help.

I have so many tattoos. Some of them have meaning and some of them don't. Some of them have a different meaning today than they did when I first got them.

Either way, when people ask me about this one, I usually tell them it's from a song or some bullshit. It's just not something I want to talk about at Passover Seder.

But I can still say with confidence that it's Metal as f*ck.

And not for nothing, my arms look way better sober than they did drunk


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