A tattoo is a skin wound that takes 3 weeks to heal…

I recently added some new designs and details to an existing tattoo. Working with a trusted tattoo artist, I let her carve into me some extra sea imagery to my Venus goddess tattoo. For those not familiar with the process, a tattoo is thousands of little holes punched into the inner layer of the skin with an electric needle tool. The holes are filled with pigment and allowed to heal. As a result, it will hold whatever image is placed under the skin permanently. It’s an artform that is truly transformative and meaningful. But it requires the skin to be broken, hurt and maimed. But after some time, it’s an art piece that is painless and wonderful to look at. There are no scars but for the colourful pigments left behind.

This is the original tattoo. Simple and pretty, but not reminiscent of the way Venus was “born of the sea”. I wanted some more water imagery. The artist preps me by shaving the area.

There are other physically painful things that take time for the body to physically recover but the outcomes are so amazing. Childbirth for example. A woman’s body is pushed and stretched beyond comfortable proportions. Labour is very traumatic to experience. Intense contractions, and a human being having to exit a small space, it’s actually pretty violent. But the rewards are very real. A tiny bundle of joy awaits, and it makes the ordeal all worth it. My own experience giving birth to my son had taken me a year to heal before I felt physically like myself again. Ballet dancers are another example. They put their bodies and feet into demanding, often debilitating routines. And the outcome is an artful elegant dance that looks effortless…

My finished creation: I love how the artist made the water so flowy and fluid looking. She looks like a goddess born of the sea now!

During my most recent tattoo session, I was personally going through a break-up of immense emotional pain, walking out of a one sided relationship scenario. I confided this to my tattoo artist and she was sympathetic. She advised me that I should and would find somebody better. I’m always skeptical about the idea that I will find true emotional/spiritual recovery after a break-up, since my heart is actually wounded and it doesn’t seem to have a heal date confirmed. A injured heart doesn’t seem to have a simple, or guaranteed healing timeline the way a new tattoo does. But I figure I will have to take care of my wounds during this time, and believe it can pass. It can be and opportunity for transformation. Skin that has been tattooed on takes 3 weeks to fully heal, my tattoo artist said….but I’m wondering now how long will it take for my heart to heal? I don’t know, but I’m hoping it will also be in 3 weeks time.

Yay, I’m loving it…this is week one of healing this tattoo. Can’t wait till it’s done. Still sensitive.

How Ice Cream can solve everything

Words of wisdom on the wall of the ice cream parlour in pink neon. yaas.

The summer is hot this year in Toronto…and I am currently observing how things are re opening here. Restaurants now have inviting patios, shops are allowing people inside to browse again, and there is a bustling, busy fun feeling in the air. That doesn’t mean I don’t have my low days. Those are days where something that is not in my control, has gotten me anxious or worried, and I just don’t know what to do about it. I wrote an article a while back about mental health and how to handle feeling depressed and sad. Check it out HERE. But this article is more about how ti use ice cream to sometimes cope with theworries, and persistent problems in my mood that can not be solved immediately, or even completely solved. It can drive me mad when I dwell on things I shouldn’t be.

This is the ice cream parlour I went to in Toronto. Super fashionable, modern, no? They specialize in asian flavour inspired soft serve icecream!

Think about it: in movies, tv shows, in songs…the most satisfying treat for a unrested mind or broken mood is ice cream. It’s the reward often given to children for being “good”. It’s the familiar remedy for emotional pain post break-up…it comes in so many flavours that there is no excuse to not like at least one flavour of ice cream! So ya, grab a couple of scoops whenever stressful situations arise and then desert the worries they present by enjoying this dessert. What better way to “solve” unsolvable problems than with a few scoops of decadent, sweet, cooling, ice cream! For me, even just forgetting a problem for a moment in time can be a way of solving it (kinda). Just enjoy things for the pleasurable moment it offers and feel like everything is okay in the world. Let’s be kind to ourselves and watch our problems melt away–just the problems that is, not the ice cream.

What flavour did I end up getting? This is the black charcoal icecream that has a mild coconut flavour with ube flavour (light purple) Ube is a purple Asian yam with a delicate flavour often used in desserts.

Ways to feel better on sad days…

When I was growing up as a teenager in the 90’s, a lot of the culture around me was sad, angry and depressed.  From Grunge music, to the death of my mother, to the uncertainty of generation X and being on the cusp of a new millenium–my youth was a depressing time.  I wrote a lot in journals, made poems, I also drew and sketched in my spare time.  I remember being sad and alone, but I didn’t suffer.  As an adult though, I find it gets harder and harder to handle negative emotions properly and healthily.  And since I’m all about natural ways of living, there are simple ways to deal with days where I feel crappy.  They take a bit of work…but are better than a day of crying in bed and not getting out.

Whether it’s about a job, a relationship, family…etc.  A lot of things can get us down…if it’s a chronic kind of thing, we may turn to drugs/medication, which is not the best.  And we sometimes even ignore our feelings until they implode on us and we get into even more trouble.  I physically have headaches when I ignore my sadness.

So let’s first understand that sadness stems from when we realize situations/problems are out of our control, and the despair grips the emotional core. But this is sort of a good thing, because once we recognize that whatever happened is not in our control we stop wasting energy fixing it or blaming ourselves.  We finally have time to heal, and not dwell.

Some ways I beat depression and avoid dwelling:

  • Take a hot bath and relax…this distraction not only de-stresses, but it cleanses and renews you, and reminds you that you need to take care of yourself.
  • Re-play all the sad songs that you know will help you.  I am a sap for Fiona Apple, since I grew up on her, and well, she made being pouty so cool! Sometimes skidding into sad emotions help more than avoiding feeling it.
  • Write a journal entry, expressing everything.  Be careful though, this is a double edged sword.  Sometimes purging helps, but it can also trigger past emotions of hurt that you also have to deal with.
  • Put on loads of make-up: after a night of crying, believe it or not, covering up and pretending nothing happened feels great! check out my article about make-up for puffy eyes! I wrote it for allergies, but it works in this case too!
  • Moisturize and pamper your skin.  When you are sad, and stressed, your skin seems to need extra moisture and pampering, so be sure to get a good lotion and slather generously
  • Work at a slower pace, take on less tasks: work is a great distraction, but if you take on too much, the stress will add to your already weakened state.
  • Understand sad days should be treated like a physical illness.  Allow yourself to feel sad, let it run its course and rest, have chicken soup!
  • Resist the urge to eat away emotions.  When I was sad a few years ago, I would go for sweets…they comforted me.  And I’d eat even when I wasn’t hungry.  Not only do you gain weight, but you’re using food to block emotions…and that’s unhealthy
  • Resist the urge to shop away emotions: I also used to buy things I didn’t need to cheer me up.  While the initial purchase lifts you, your credit card bill will not.
  • Hang out with a good girlfriend.  You don’t even have to talk about what’s got you down, just having someone around and going out for coffee is an amazing lift.
  • Sleep in and then some: make sure you get sleep.  For some reason, problems and conflicts look worse when you haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep so do yourself a favour and put your alarm on snooze.

↑My sad girl icon Fiona Apple.  A lot of her music is about being tortured, sad and misunderstood…obligatory listening for the moody.

What things do you do when you are really sad, and in pain?  Are your thoughts sometimes too much to handle?  Is life dragging you down in various ways, and you feel like you can’t cope?  Do you feel freakishly alone during your sad days?  Believe it or not, you are not alone.  I think we have to understand our sad days and let them have free run, or else they creep into our happy days, and make living ever much so harder.