Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hopefully you're better at following your life guideposts than me

A few years ago I met the most incredible person I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Then, a few short months later, she suddenly passed away, and I was completely destroyed.

Her name is Liz and not only was she beautiful outside, but just as beautiful on the inside as well. I know lots of people are probably described that way, but I really, truly mean this. Liz was generous, kind, funny and extremely talented. She was the person that I wish I could be. She was the person that everyone should want to be.

Liz was also my tattoo artist and I will struggle with finding someone to "replace" her probably for the rest of my life. This is an important distinction in this story though.

See, the other day at my part-time job, a customer came in and was sporting a freshly finished tattoo. It was fine as far as tattoos go - especially considering it was done in the city where I currently live (I'm probably being elitist, but most of the tattoo artists in my town don't do custom work and that's a huge red flag) (The tattoo artists changing around a few of the colors is not indicative of custom work. FYI).

This customer went on to explain that it was his very first tattoo and he hadn't really put a lot of thought into it, he just knew he wanted one (mistake! I'm sure even Liz would agree with that!) It did represent his interests though, so he obviously didn't just walk up to the wall, spin himself around a few times and get the first thing his finger landed on (Never do this! You will probably end up with a yellow rose wrapped around a skeleton holding a sword or something equally hideous. Unless that's what you've always wanted forever and ever...then yay you!)

Basically though, I was more skeptical than I was excited for this guy, primarily due to the reasons I just mentioned and that the tattoo artist said it was totally ok for this guy to hit the gym directly afterwards. I have 7 tattoos myself so I'm fairly qualified to make these sorts of judgements. Although I probably should just make them in my head.

The guy was super happy though, and clearly excited to show of his fresh ink, so really that's all that should have mattered in the grand scheme of things, and off he goes to and do whatever it was he came to the gym to do, and then I started feeling like the asshole I probably am. The more I recall our exchange, the more ass holey I feel.

Sometimes, after I find myself in certain situations, I'll reflect back and think about how Liz would have handled the situation. Usually I realize it would have been with a heck of a lot more grace and class. Or at least nicer. Then I think to myself "Ok, so next time we're gonna handle this better, right? Right!" Then next time comes around and I'm typically an asshole yet again.


I've been thinking this tattoo situation over...and last night I started getting really maudlin about it. Liz's beautiful face kept popping into my head and I would imagine her having this same "new tattoo" discussion with this guy, and I realized she would have been really encouraging and excited for him. Even if she didn't necessarily agree with it or him, I'm sure she wouldn't have turned into Debbie Downer like I did.

See, I have a bad habit of, as the boyfriend would say, "ruining it". Someone else is happy about something and I come along all critical and smarty-pants and crush that high. The worst part is I just can't stop myself. It's not like it happens all the time for every little thing, but usually on things that are either wholly or partially questionable (to me).

People tell stories for a reason and it's not always to just pass the time or fill the silence. People tell stories so that everyone else can experience their same emotions - happy or not. We want those around us to share in our expediences and we want to know that someone else is on our side or at least agrees with us.

I don't "ruin it" on purpose, because I wouldn't want anyone to do it to me - but my stupid analytical brain gets in the way, and while my head is working in overdrive, I lose what little control I have over my mouth and out spews my verbal vomit.

Some people would probably just tell me to try and censor myself better. Maybe. I think the bigger issue is being able to shut off my asshole brain for a second and just be happy for the person or at least get caught up in their excitement (or sadness whichever the case may be at the time).

I love talking about Liz, and remembering her and trying to bring her light into other people's lives. I'll always be striving to become as beautiful of a person as she was, and continues to be, with her amazing spirit. Apparently I need to be trying harder though.

Liz - yet another vodka/7 toast to you - vodka/7 with double lime....always double lime.

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