I have been wanting to get my back tattooed for a long time. I do have a small one on the base, but it is nothing special, just a last minute thought when M was getting his first and only tattoo. I booked the session with the tattooist back in April, and have chopped and changed my mind on what I am gong to get. I always wanted the crucifixion scene, not that I am religious at all, but I like the iconography. Another was a Chinese tribal face that adorns Jean Michel Jarre’s album The Concerts in China, an image that I have loved since the 80’s when I got the album. Another thought was a Japanese dragon and coi carp, but in the end that seemed almost cartoonish, so that was out.
I have always loved Polynesian art as well as Celtic and Maori tribal art, and that was where my vision seemed to have landed. After months of searching, I have finally found the image I want on my back. It will go from shoulder to shoulder and from my neck, just above my tee shirt line down to my waistline. What is the image? It is a Manta Ray with turtles and other ethnic elements in it.
Currently I have 6 tattoos, the first I got when I was just 18, that is 33 years ago, all but one I am happy to have covered with Polynesian designs, the one that I will not get covered is M’s name.
Other tattoos I have found and like, and again are Polynesian designs are of sea turtles, sharks and one of my favourite animals a Hammerhead Shark. There are lots of geometric designs too that I like, however, these things are not cheap to have done, and I do not know anyone that is a budding tattoo designed who needs a human canvas to work on for practice, otherwise I would be first to volunteer my body.
I am booked in for it three weeks tomorrow, and will reveal what I have had done once I get back from Wales, yes, I am going back to my ancestral homelands to have it done. Not for any other reason than she is a good artist and is very reasonably priced. We have a few tattooist not far from here, but the good ones are mega expensive, and the others are expensive and in my eyes not very good as I have seen their work, and if it is to be on my body for the rest of my life then I want it to look good, and not like a drawing that a child has done.
Following my other challenges I decided to do another city; Paris. Although I have not been to Paris (I have been to France) I thought it would be nice to go on a virtual walk about the city with Pacer.
The walk was 60km in total which took me virtually through many parts of Paris I would like to visit if I ever get the chance to go, and I could follow the virtual tour. It is a mad idea that I walk 60km in the UK and my journey is then virtually mapped through the streets of Paris, step by step with city views all the way care of Google Earth.
Starting Point – Palace of Versailles
Bois de Boulogne
Arc de Triomphe & Champs Elysees
Place de la Concorde
Place de la Bastille
Notre-Dame de Paris
Eiffel Tower – End Point
Next is The Inca Trail, only 33km, so a short journey, but an interesting place that I would love to visit on day, that is when I win the lottery.
I wrote a few weeks ago about being very very down and living through very dark moments. Although at the time of writing that post I didn’t express how truly dark those days were, but at the time I was considering ending it. Now, before I continue, I have NO point of life I can place this on, and really there is no rhyme or reason for my “black” thoughts, but all the same, they existed, they were real and nothing at that point moved me from this runaway train of thought.
Over the years so many rock icons had taken their lives by hanging, and I thought this to be a horrific, almost barbaric death. Then, this year our dear nephew hanged himself with his “best friend” dog by his side. He was at a point that this course of action seemed logical and to him his only friend was his dog, but even his dog could not chase the demons away. At the time of his death, I thought to myself how could he go through with it? What a terrible way to go. But, yes, there is always a but, in my head during those three or four weeks my thoughts changed and blocked the “how” question to something that now made sense to me. I even thought of exhaust fumes into the car, but my mind kept turning to the thing I thought barbaric and horrific, which at the time made sense.
These thoughts plagued me 24/7. In my dreams and my waking hours. It was monotonous and wore away at me. To me it was like something was daring, tempting, wishing me to follow that rabbit down the hole. Every song I listened to pulled me in the wrong direction and my head followed the trail of breadcrumbs to darker and darker places, like unseen hands relentlessly tugging at me, almost taunting me to the final act.
I can’t say what changed, what brought me back to a “sensible” train of thought, although still my head “goes west” but so far without the need for finality, however, it is still dark.
A week or so after writing that post I was wondering about the house and garden aimlessly and Mazikeen came to me wanting to play. Of course, I played with her and her ball and eventually, I sat in the arbour and she sat with me. She was leaning on me just staring at me with nothing but love in her eyes, and maybe the thought of a biscuit. I sat looking at her, holding her and asked knowing I was never going to get a spoken answer “will you miss me if I go? I need you to look after your dad for me!” She is a dog, indeed a very intelligent dog, but all the same, a dog, and I never expected an answer. She looked at me in the eyes, maybe sensing my turmoil, without breaking eye contact moved over to my knee and literally hugged me and gently licked me like she was giving me kisses of support, and maybe even telling me she would miss me. I have no idea what she was thinking but it was a gesture that unknown to me at the time made a big difference. Later that evening Harper did the same. Harper is a hugger, but again this probably made a difference.
Maybe that was what I needed. Maybe my girls really knew where my head was and formed a plan between themselves to help, or maybe they were being themselves and that was my point of return, a push in the right direction. Do not get me wrong, M knew I was in a dark place, but, I did what I always do, and pushed him back, told him to “leave it”, “don’t push it” and I am sure many other damning comments. Not that I wanted to hurt M, but I am someone that needs to deal with things on my own, and anyone trying to help gets pushed away. Not ideal, but I do not know any other way. I grew up with a hateful father who thought with his fists and “boys DO NOT cry” and the notion that emotions are weak. This is something I cannot change in myself even though I know it is self-destructive. I am over half a century old and old dogs don’t learn new tricks no matter what people believe.
Whilst in that frame of mind, the so-called sense is buried out of reach and dark thoughts emerge as sensible courses of action. Maybe my girls understood and their actions were just enough to pull me through, or maybe my head sorted itself out? I don’t know, and honestly, I’ll never know. I am still not right, but the edge of the precipice seems a little further away today.
One of the many songs I turn to when I’m down is “Hope there’s someone” by Antony and the Johnson’s. It is a beautiful song by a beautiful person.
My latest walking challenge was through New York which was nice as it is one of the few places I really want to visit before I expire.
The challenge this time was 42km / 26 miles and started at Prospect Park. As always at each place, there is a virtual postcard and I got to learn a lot about each place, so that is a bonus. The medal is like the others, chunky and well made and in a presentation box, but this one glows in the dark, the city skyline glows, so that is a bit of fun.
Prospect Park – Starting Point
Empire Stat Building
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
The Museum of Modern Art
The Metropolitan Museum fo Art
World Trade Center
Statue of Liberty – End Point
I am going to do Paris next which is 60km, and as I seem to be doing city walks I may continue with those challenges for now. I would like to do a big challenge like Camino de Santiago which is 819km / 509 miles. Conqueror does Route 66 which is 3669km / 2280 miles but the medal does not look all that good, and Pacer medals are really nice and chunky. I will keep looking out for other challenges.