So it’s been about two months since I got my second tattoo, and many many more months since I had been thinking of getting it. I still have the realism collage tattoo idea swimming around, but thought that I might want to wait until more of my life had passed, or some other monumental thing had happened. This one took much more time to sit on, wondering if I should ask my dad to write me a card for my birthday or ask him to rewrite the phrase in his best writing, etc. But in the end, I thought that the authenticity of the feelings and emotions behind every word at that moment back in time would be lost.

So why these words out of the whole page in my graduation gift? Why not the standard “I love you” written in his handwriting? It’s because I’ve come to realize that when I saw these words, it’s as if all the heavy stones I had placed upon my own shoulders disappeared. I had grown up hearing my dad say that all he needed from me was for me to do my “personal best”. However, the way that I interpreted those words were that I could always work harder and push those boundaries to make my “personal best” even “better”. Instead of an encouraging statement, it became the chains on my ankle, taking away my feelings of accomplishment every time something was finished. My goal in life had become “to make my parents proud”, because I had felt that in disappointing myself every time, I was also a disappointment to them. It didn’t help that all my life, we had butted heads on pretty much every single thing I chose to do.

In addition, there was my headache, which they could not understand. It wasn’t until last year when they started to see that it was more than just a headache like they would get, or a pain in their joints that come and go. That I had been living in constant, never-remitting pain in my head for the last 5 (almost 6) years. And they had finally started to understand how it added an extra level of difficulty for simple, everyday things, so how much harder was it for me to go through with my pharmacy degree and become a pharmacist with it.

So for them to acknowledge 1) my headache and all the difficulties that it challenged me with, and that 2) they were proud of me as always, made me feel that no matter what happens from now on, I could be content. It also made me feel less alone in my battles. Knowing that they were cheering me on from behind, that I was already a winner in their eyes, takes off that burden of winning the competition against myself for their sake. Contentment – a state of satisfaction. To be able to experience this emotion after a decade of working myself to pieces to strive that much further was foreign, but made all the sweat and tears worth it. It doesn’t mean that I’ll stop working hard, its just that I won’t do everything like my life depended on it. All my future successes can just be a bonus (well until I find a new goal to go crazy about…but that’s a whole other topic).

One month healed

The original copy in my graduation gift


Sooo impulse won and I got the tattoo. On 2/16/2016 at 2:16 pm, I sat in the chair and it all began. Being one who was born on a date that was the square of the month number, I of course had an obsession with dates. It was too far for my birthday to come along so why not a close day that somewhat was special (it was either that day or the 29th since it was leap year) Anyways, after sitting in the chair, in 10 minutes, it was over. It took even longer to prep the tattoo from the design I drew (first pic) to the editing and printing of the design onto a carbon copy kind of paper to putting the template on my wrist (second pic).┬áIt didn’t hurt like I expected it to be. It just felt like strong tingly vibrations as she just drew the design once slowly. My hand felt like it was still vibrating afterwards but it wasn’t painful. (third pic) It’s been healing quite nicely, flaking and a bit itchy. We’ll see how it turns out.

As coincidental as it could be, the day before was another day to remember. It was one of those scares where I was just numb from the shock and unable to control my emotions (partially why the tattoo was not painful┬áin my opinion). My dad was exercising and overexerted himself and when he got off the stationary bike, he walked over to the sink and collapsed. He slipped in and out of unconsciousness and my brother had to hold him up. Unlike last time where he had chest pain where I was able to drive him to the emergency and stay controlled, I had another experience with someone fainting and I think it just set it off. Last time was when I was at work and someone had fainted and almost died. I think that was why it hit me so hard. Seeing him limp and unconsciousness, not responding to us, unable to do anything about it. Thankfully he came about and was alright after all. But it was traumatizing and I really hope that he would take better care of himself and be more careful knowing his condition. Now he can’t even do moderate exercise and it pains me to think that the next time he might have a heart attack or just not wake up from unconsciousness the next time. To think of losing him brings on the bucketfuls of tears because I’m not ready yet. If these scare attacks are supposed to prepare me to accept that he may have something serious someday that may take him away from me, I don’t want it. As immature as it sounds. I honestly don’t think I can handle it, even as much as I can believe or try to believe. I guess that’s why having the tattoo done the day after made it even more important of a reminder, to believe. To believe in myself, to believe in brighter days, to believe that in the end, it’ll be okay.

Just an impulse?

I frequently wonder whether my random ideas and impulsive thoughts are something that is like an enlightenment, or rather my own selfish wishes that I try to justify. For me, these impulses are usually against my norm, against my personality and something that I would never do. Unless I do it right now as I think about it. Then I act before I can regret it. Sometimes they require more planning and therefore they just sit there in my brain, bubbling and growing until I can act on it. Sometimes I’m able to reason with myself why I should or should not do it. Other times, the opportunity seems like it’ll never come again and there I go.

Mostly it’s led to good things happening. I feel like I fulfilled something. I get the chance to do something that I otherwise would regret. Sometimes it even turns into a dream I want to accomplish. And of course, sometimes it turns out it was a dumb decision after all and I regret it oh so much. So here are my current impulses that I want to act on and have not found the ability, time or justification to act on it yet.

  1. I want to get a tattoo. Yes, I know it’s permanent and it’ll have to be something that I can cover up as I work as a healthcare professional. But there’s just something about the word “believe” that I feel like I need it as a reminder for myself. To be able to see it daily, with me all the time. To believe in myself. To believe in my abilities as a pharmacist, as a person. To believe in love. To believe in the worthiness of life. To believe in people. To believe that the future will hold brighter days. To believe that there are people who love me no matter my failures or successes. Because without believing in all this, my life is meaningless. And I do believe that living can be meaningful.
  2. I want to volunteer abroad. So I found this Work the World that would allow me to do a pharmacy internship volunteering abroad. It honestly sounds amazing. To be able to see how I can use what I’ve learned and at the same time see how it can be used in other areas. It’s also a great opportunity to immerse myself in other cultures and further my learning and understanding of them. The only setback is the cost. I’ll have to start saving up and possibly find another way of income to cover the cost of the internship itself plus the flights. And as for whether my parents allow me…I need to prepare my arguments for some convincing.
  3. I want to start tutoring. This impulse came as my idea for a way to cover the cost of the internship. Well, I have been thinking about it for a year now but never got the incentive to do it. I had planned to do some sort of part time tutoring after I became a pharmacist so I could have the best of both worlds and fulfilling my childhood dream to be a teacher. Reading with kids every week with One to One has increased my love for teaching kids and opening them to the amazing world of learning. Learning is lifelong as I can definitely attest to.

Here’s just a few of my current impulses. I guess it can be risky but that’s what life is about. We can’t predict the result of every move we make and life is so much harder when we make decisions based on that. One life to live. Time passes without regard. What can I do with my time and life so that I am content that I have lived my life to the fullest?