The Year of the Tattoo

July: Quit my first job of nearly three years.

August: Moved to a new town; new school; new first apartment; new job.

September: Broke up with my high school boyfriend of nearly two years.

October: Promoted at my new job; inked with tattoo number one; joined a network marketing company.

November: Started my fitness journey.

December: Began work full-time; left the network marketing company; decided to take a gap semester in 2018.

These past six months have been a drama queen cluster of new beginnings, fresh starts, and life-changing decisions. What instigated it all? A mantra that I have adopted into every aspect of my life, so much so, that it is permanently tattooed on my body: No Love Without Freedom, No Freedom Without Love.

In July and August of 2017, my cozy, plastic body wrap of comfort melted before my eyes. Leaving a job I loved was difficult. Leaving my friends and family was heart breaking. Moving to a city where I only knew my sister was terrifying. Starting a job where I was suddenly the newbie again was humbling, and attending a massive university as a transfer student was extremely overwhelming. As horrifying as it all was, I had more freedom than I had ever experienced in my life, and I absolutely loved it. It was time to apply my mantra to every facet of my life. 

I had an unhealthy relationship, in which there was no unconditional love, and freedom certainly did not exist. So I walked away from it.

I came to the conclusion that you’re never going to feel truly free unless you love the most important person in your life: you. So I started practicing my self-love through exercise and healthy eating, one of the highest forms of self-respect. I’m finally free from the tedious shackles of self-consciousness; it’s an incredible feeling when you can look in the mirror and smile at your success.

The network marketing company that I was a part of for a couple months was an extraordinarily insightful experience, but I was not free. I had a mentor, who was responsible for molding and shaping me into the perfect clone, so that she could reap the benefits of my success. That’s a lot of pressure on me to be someone, even if it is someone I want to be. I need the choice. I need to feel free, and I need the person who’s guiding me to not have a selfish manipulative agenda. Of course I’m going to need some guidance in my life, but how am I supposed to trust a mentor who does not actually have any pure emotional attachment to my well-being? I didn’t have a choice but to be manipulated to the intense benefit of someone else, so I walked away. 

The past month that I have not been in school has been one of the best months of my life. My appetite for knowledge is now colossal. All I want to do is read, read some more, write, and listen to as many wise, successful people as physically possible in a day. I actually have the choice to wake up and educate myself or not, and as a result, my love for even just comprehending information has increased tremendously.

It’s human nature to desire freedom. We don’t like expectations, restrictions, or predestinations, because it conflicts with our internal desire for control. Without control, we feel powerless and small, which is unsettling to some, but infuriating to others. In case you can’t tell by now, I’m in the infuriating category. I can not find love in something unless I have the choice to find it, and I will never find the amazing freedom that is possible without unconditional love. For someone who values their freedom as much as I do, this ideology is vital to achieving happiness. I need freedom in my personal relationships. I need freedom in myself. I need freedom in my career, and I need freedom in my education. There is absolutely no freedom without love, and no love without freedom. 

 

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