I continue to think about the idea of investment, of directing thought and energy into relationships, but also about how the act of investment in various ideas and values colors everything I do. When I invest in the people, ideas and values that matter, my life is enriched. When I invest in the people who could give a rat's ass about our relationship, when I invest in ideas and values that mean little to me, I am impoverished. It's interesting to think about.
One thing that came to me yesterday as I sat around inside virtually all day long (code red air, temps around 105 F. - it was a toxic stew outside) was that instead of detesting my new tattoo, it would behoove me to invest some time/energy into accepting and perhaps eventually even appreciating what will now be a part of my body/mind for the rest of my life. The ex friend who now avoids me like the plague echoes the part of me who would cross the street to get away from my own tattoo. It came to me that this kind of disinvestment in the tattoo will not benefit me in any way. I can at least be civil, hey?
I'm starting simple: what do I like about the tattoo? Well, I like the word Shalom. I surely do. I like the way it looks in modern Hebrew; it's kind of Star Trekish, like a sigil.
The way it healed makes it look like a very old tattoo. I've decided I like that. I've decided I prefer it slightly fuzzy and mottled, that if it were crisp and bright and brand new looking, I wouldn't like it as much. It's an old idea expressed in modern Hebrew. It's new and old which means to me it travels across time. I like that. Hence I cancelled my second appointment with Fernando. When he responded to my text, I could tell he was laughing, something he does a lot. He encouraged me to let him "hit it up" at some point, but I'm not clear I'll ever do so. I like it that it's kind of homely.
What else do I like about it?
The mark on my arm will forever remind me of walking through the main exhibit at the Holocaust Museum. It will forever remind me (as if I needed to be reminded) of my deep love and personal investment in my relationship with the great teacher who invited me to journey with her through the collection. That moment when we stood for a few seconds in the cattle car, tightly holding hands, will come back to me every time I notice the tattoo. That's powerful and good. Yes, I'm Jewish and yes my parents taught us about the Holocaust from the time we were small children, but above and beyond that I have a very intimate relationship with that terrible firestorm, also to my ancestors who were killed in the volkswagons before the shtetl was bulldozed. The Holocaust feels personal to me in a way that it doesn't to my siblings, for instance. I don't know why, but it's true.
Though to be perfectly honest I am not yet invested in my tattoo, I've made a start, thank goodness. I think it's going to be more like putting $20 in a savings account every week than buying a lottery ticket and suddenly winning millions (which I believe is what I unconsciously hoped for). Investment in my tattoo will require discipline, attention, compassion and patience. Little by little, as my ex housemate Manuel would say.
OK. That's ok. The mark is here, it's queer (as in odd), and it's time to go beyond getting used to it. I must learn to love the tattoo. I'm in the process of becoming invested in it now which is so much better than where I was last week, hating it, covering it with concealer, feeling embarrassed.
May my heart and mind open to the dramatic gesture I underwent of my own free will after much careful thought. May it be so! May my investment in this mark overcome the discomforts of regret. May it be so.
And as long as I'm praying here, may the rains come to Washington DC, may the heat subside at least for awhile. May it be so!