There are thoughts I hold true to myself that are hard to practice. And living a spiritual life is more about the practice and living of it than overtly teaching it to others. (At least that’s what I’ve decided to believe for myself as I don’t seem to be becoming an overt spiritual teacher any time soon.)
The knowing that others’ opinion of me is none of my business is one of those. I know it’s true. And yet.
I went about my early years as if to prove that I didn’t care what others thought. I remember as a pre-teen and early teen that I liked to say things to deliberately shock people (yes, I know, pay back is coming soon in the form of my own children).
Of course, I hung out at bars and beach clubs a lot (I was in Barbados, after all, jam packed full of tourists and locals drinking and soaking up the sun). And the people around me certainly said a lot of shocking things themselves — like the 40-year-old American man who asked my 14-year-old self if I’d ever like to be with someone older. I didn’t look 14. But still. And it was a more colorful question than that.
In high school, I quickly learned the best way to stay safe from the after school gangs of teenage thugs was to out-pysch-the-psychos.
I became quick with the comebacks. Them: “Oh, girl, you cold!”
And the threats. Me: “Ever been hospitalized with multiple stab wounds from a ball point pen?”
And I kept trying to dye my hair purple. I always felt very odd and different compared to my peers anyway.
Throughout all those years, people had lots of opinions of me. Generally not positive.
These days, in general, I think it’s safe to say that’s changed. A friend at church made the comment recently that anyone looking at me would see a conservative-looking woman. Little would they know, she added, that I could also rock out on a purple guitar. She meant it as a compliment. But what stuck with me was “conservative-looking woman.”
How the bloody hell did that happen?
I had thought, that morning, as I chose some earrings, that I am becoming more and more like my mum. I prefer not to leave the house without earrings. And I wasn’t pleased about going to church without my face on (I had to be there early for songleading), even though I brought my makeup bag with me.
But I suppose from the outside, I have become quite respectable looking. Which is generally OK. My mum was a beautiful, elegant, sexy woman. Looking like her is not a bad thing. Being too concerned with how others see me, though, is.
Which caused me to continue pondering getting another tattoo. It feels like it’s time. But of what?
When I find my mind wandering (which is a lot), I bring myself back to focus with the phrase, “Be. Here. Now.” I need an image connected to that, to spirit, to my mum, to myself. I think a nautilus shell would be a good image.
Some ideas. OK, I only found one so far.
Where? Inside my left wrist.
Why? Because it’s time for more outward expression of who I am. And the purple guitar is a bit awkward to carry around everywhere.