Several years ago, after many years of discussions and sketches, my sweet husband took me to get my first, and only, tattoo. To say it was a big deal, is an understatement.
Even though I had friends with tattoos, and family with tattoos, there was something very taboo about me getting a tattoo. I knew people would be disappointed in me. I knew there would be people I would feel the need to hide it from. If it was going to cause that much grief, I wanted to make sure it was worth it. It had to mean something to me, something deep.
At the time, I was struggling with the idea that I was in fact a writer. Calling myself a writer, an author, sounded a little too real. It took me beyond just someone who happened to put words into sentences and let people read it. It implied I had a skill and that I used that skill intentionally to reach out and impact others. I wanted to believe I was a writer. I wanted to be confident in telling others, I am an author.
Part of my tattoo is a quill.
The other part, is a simple word, in one of my favorite fonts. It simply says, “Anyway”.
To explain the word, I generally point to the poem that Mother Teresa had on the wall of her children’s home. It’s titled The Paradoxical Commandments, written by Kent M. Keith in 1968.
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
It is so much more than that.
If you think you can’t play Barbies, play anyway.
If you think you can’t play Army Men, play anyway.
If you think you can’t learn something new, learn it anyway.
If you want to sing, but think you’re not good enough, sing anyway.
If you think you have something to share with the world, but no one wants to read it, write it anyway.
If they have given you absolutely no reason to love them, or even like them,
If they have brought you pain, and hurt, and to the point of anger,
If they have no clue the damage they caused, or are currently causing,
draw a line, create a boundary, protect yourself…but love them, forgive them, anyway.
For a while, tattoos were becoming popular and accepted in society. Employers don’t always make you cover them up. Few look down on others because of tattoos. Yet, I am seeing a trend returning where tattoos are being frowned upon, and I’ve read articles shaming those who get them.
I do not regret my tattoo. I won’t be ashamed of it. It has opened the door for me to share the story of love and forgiveness that I have received from Jesus. It has allowed me opportunities to explain how I manage to love and forgive despite how little I might feel the offending person deserves it. It has helped me to fully own the title of “writer”.
I write. I play. I try. I sing. I love. I forgive. Anyway.