Complicated weekend with my fourth session today completing the pattern for my entire back piece. The design work is done and a Metraton Cube is permanently drawn upon my back along with Ganesha by Andy at Long Street Collective. It’s funny too because I began the day coaching a person in the UK regarding cardiac anxiety as she was desperately reaching out the to the group of us. This is where a Sense 8 situation would be really awesome in real life. Some live stream way to grab the help of someone you are connected with to support you through one of your darkest hours while gripped by the very real fear of death. Unfortunately for her, she got hers through the FaceBook based group we are private members of… and then, sadly, beat herself up for having had a weak moment. All I could tell her is that I understand. I understand your breakdown completely. I go to the same dark places. More than I’d like.
But not today. And I don’t care how damn much tattooing or marathon training hurts. Both are awesome and exactly where I want to be. Living.
It’s really the very meaning of my back tattoo. The doors that were opened for me and the gratitude of having had a chance to step across so many thresholds. The lady I was talking with earlier was a part of the Cardiac Athletes group based in the UK. However most of my experience is with the AHA Support Network as a volunteer moderator and peer emotional mentor in the heart attack community. These folks are my family. They are triumphant, sometimes afraid yet overall grateful, just as I am, to have another day to wake up and make new choices and connections with the amazing diversity that surrounds us all. What makes us whole? What constitutes a day? If this was your last year on earth, and you knew it, what would you change? How would you choose to live?
So far, for me, that’s meant a fire that raged through the City of my old life. Everything burned. To the ground. But from the confusion I found things that were gold. Little bits of metal that shone among the ashes. Even as my own friends began to check out from natural causes. Kanik, Ted, Tom, Rob, Chuck, among so many others. Grateful to be on this tattoo artists table with two women on the other tables in the shop with a chance to hire a professional to paint a story on our bodies that interpret what we were able to communicate between two people as client/canvas and artist.
It reminds me of this lady though this morning. She was absolutely desperate and flailing out to anyone who would respond. Panicked. In the hospital. Being monitored for a heart incident and afraid that every minute would be her last. I get it. I’ve been there with Eddie. My blood pressure was in the neighborhood of 200+/150+ during my heart attack. So what did I do? I called my friends. I called Lisa, Nick, Doug and my parents with Eddie constantly by my side. And to everyone in the same situation I’d like to say that I would love nothing more than to at least validate what you are experiencing. The map I’m having drawn on my body, over the next two years, will hopefully represent this in some form. I understand and I wish I could be with you just as I wish you could be with me when I need it too.
Instead we live very separate lives. Connected yes. But here we are. One big beautiful community of billions on a the big blue ball that I visualize when the tattoo artist does shading on my back, which hurts like a motherfucker, and gets my mind to let go of the pain and accept the moment a little easier. Just like I told the lady in the UK this morning. Try to change you focus to 5 minute increments. For each one that passes say to yourself “I’m OK.”
Sometimes that’s all it takes.