“Stop hating yourself for everything you aren’t. Start loving yourself for everything that you are.” – Unknown
Coming to Philadelphia was one of the biggest changes of my life next to moving to the US. I left the life that I knew in New Jersey to Philadelphia with the intent of higher education. Although, I met my best friend and have made many friendships that I am truly grateful for here; moving to Philadelphia also intoxicated how I lived my life. Unknowingly, I changed and become less and less like myself and more and more unhappy about myself.
I was never a “wild” person; however, neither I was ever a “traditional” Asian believer. I was very open-minded in my way of living and I was very accepting of people and circumstances. There was not a moment did I ever question if there was something wrong with me. Moving to Philadelphia, I became more bitter about a lot of situations and less accepting of people that are “different”. Worst of all I became less accepting of who I was. Suddenly I became fat, I wore too much makeup, I cursed too much, my hair was not long enough, I drank too much alcohol, I stayed out too late often and the clothes I wore was not appropriate.
The life that I knew and had been living all along was suddenly was not acceptable. However, at that time I was in a new place and frankly I was looking for acceptance. I can only blame myself for caving into that change. I was at fault for craving acceptance from other people when the only acceptance that should be important was the one from myself. What I didn’t realize was that the problem was not who I was rather that I did not realize my own worth. I thought that other people’s view of me was more important than my own and I jeopardize myself and my happiness.
I am turning pretty old this year, in a month actually. As a part of that there were a few things that I wanted to do. I first started with editing my resume, then I invested in a new computer, updated this blog and then things a little side track where I got a nose piercing and tattoos. The normals are just something I had to do to grow myself in the working field, however, the nose piercing and tattoos were something that I wanted but I never did because I was afraid. I was partially afraid of pain, commitment (because tattoo is for life) and also being judged.
Living in the midst of a predominantly close minded Asian community, piercing on other places beside the ears and tattoos often are related to being a delinquent or in the Christian community it is typically frowned upon: 1. If you follow the old testament it is related to the Bible verse Leviticus 19:28, “You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the LORD”. 2. Our bodies’ are not our own, rather it is God’s which we should not be altered (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). I know religious places where they would not let you volunteer in the Church if you have them or some will ask you to cover them while you are serving because they don’t want to send out the “wrong” vibe to the visitors.
Being that I was familiar to both of that sector, it made the decision harder to make. However, after awhile you just have to say heck with it. I am going to do what I want as long as it makes me happy. I feel that a part of growth is choosing to do what you want even if that means that you will be condemned by that decision. I will probably get dirty looks from some people and get talked about but that will happen regardless if I have a nose piercing and tattoos or not. There is no point of being afraid; once I was able to jump over that mentality I was able to proceed.
I started with a nose piercing because that was easier. Tattoo took me months to decide because it is permanent. I wanted to make sure what I choose is a part of me and what I will love. The first one I got was a cross. I knew I wanted one relating to my faith because faith is a huge part of who I am. Faith and God is the reason I am alive today, it is the reason I wake up when all I wanted to do was to keep my eyes closed. I was contemplating between the word itself or my favorite verse Hebrew 11:1 but when I went in for a consultation with the artist for a slightly larger piece I saw the tattoos on her fingers and I loved how it look and that was how I choose just a simple cross with the finger as a placement.
For the slightly bigger piece I choose the words “beautifully broken”. I am as a person is very broken and for as long as I could remember I thought that was why bad things were happening to me. I wanted to change that concept that broken is bad. Being broken does not mean that you are damaged, unloved or unworthy. Broken just mean that you have been through a lot and that is ok; broken is as beautiful because you choose to rise above it all the bad circumstances that you had to face. I drew a broken light bulb to symbolize the brokenness and flowers growing inside of them to symbolize beauty. With some cleaning up and detailing from the artist the tattoo was born and I am in love.
Don’t look for others to validate who you are because you will never be happy that way. Find who you are; love who you are and what you are made of and know that you are perfect as you are.