Drunk Tattoos

I have two tattoos.

One is a celtic knot, which symbolizes the Holy Trinity.

I had thought about this tattoo for years before getting it.  I did research of the symbol and daydreamed about where I wanted it on my body.  It represented my faith, and I wanted is as a constant reminder.

But seriously, let’s be real.  I was 20 years old and could barely afford rent, but could always afford beer and apparently permanent ink.  I cussed the entire time.

This tattoo was about as deep as my faith was…barely below the flesh.

Still, I’ve always loved and wanted this tattoo and it truly has been a great reminder of what I believe.  I never had a regret.

Then there’s the second one.

I  also had a vision for this one, and daydreamed about it, etc.  I wanted the phrase ad petendam pluviam, a Latin phrase translated, “to ask for rain.”

I read it in a book that I couldn’t finish because the author didn’t use periods and it drove me absolutely nutty.  No periods, just commas. It was like a giant run-on sentence that was totally unnecessary and I never had any idea who was talking, and now there’s a new character and maybe someone’s speaking and there’s a totally new topic, but no one will ever know because there are NEVER ANY PERIODS (OR QUOTATION MARKS)!  My sweet readers, I solemnly swear to ALWAYS use periods (and quotation marks).

But anyway, this phrase stood out to me in this period-less book and became my muse for my next tattoo.

 

This Latin phrase, for me, represented hardships in life that make you stronger.  Just as those who originally said this phrase were asking for rain in order to grow a thriving crop, I felt that we should also ask for these painful times since we would in turn grow in our character, and there was a Flood Watch in my life at that time.  I wanted to feel stronger and bigger than the struggles I was going through, and I felt like this would be a reminder of that.

So one beautiful morning in the mountains, my good friend asked if I wanted to get brunch.  No matter the season, rainy, sunny, or muddy, I freaking LOVE brunch.  You can have all the goodies of breakfast without feeling badly or needing an excuse that it’s well passed breakfast time, because it’s brunch!

Brunch also allows you to sleep in.  And this girl adores sleeping in.  (Ryan said to me yesterday that there are 2 Hannah’s: one before 9:30am and one after…the one before is slightly more difficult.)

We arrived to our favorite spot and indulged, as we usually did, in all our favorites.  Starting with coffee and bottomless mimosas.  (This restaurant no longer offers the bottomless mimosa deal…and I have a feeling we may have been a reason.)

After brunch, our buzzy brains got the brilliant idea to get tattoos since there was a tattoo shop just across the street.  What a perfect time to get my Latin phrase, and I decided I would like it on my wrist.

When we got to the tattoo shop the artist has you fill out and sign a waiver stating that you are not being forced to get this tattoo and that you are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  Away I signed!

When the tattoo artist asked what I would like I paused and thought.

I couldn’t remember how to spell it.

Thoughts went through my mind:

It’s freaking Latin, no one would know if you get it wrong, just go for it!

You just had 84 mimosas.  Don’t get the tattoo right now.

You know how to spell it, remember?  It’s ad petandarmquirwod….was there a number in there somewhere?

Get something else, duh!

I responded, “I would like the word ‘grace’ in cursive right here on my wrist.  It’s the meaning of my name.”

I had never come up with this backup idea before, but the tattoo artist wrote up a nice swirly little ‘grace’ and away he buzzed with his permanent skin engraver.  (Thanks for stepping in here and stopping me, Cole!)

As the mimosas wore off I got more and more aware of what I had done and was furious.

GRACE???

YOU COULDN’T JUST WAIT UNTIL YOU WEREN’T DRINKING???  THAT’S NOT WHAT YOU WANTED YOU FOOLISH MIMOSA CHUGGING, BRUNCH LOVING IDIOT!

What about my reminder to be strong through the struggles in life?  To ask for these times so that you can come out a better person?

How stupid, right?

 

I actually think that God had an angel with me that day, holding the tattoo ink pen.

 

Looking back, I don’t think I would have been as happy with that Latin phrase.  Had I known how long the depression would last and how hard that rain would fall I don’t think I would like a reminder to ask for it.  Why would any of us ASK for hardships?  What I should have asked for was No rain ever, k thanks.

What I needed more was exactly what I got, grace.

I needed forgiveness from a lot of people, and they gave it gracefully.

I needed healing in myself, to show myself epic grace.

I needed to move on from a dark time and I didn’t need to depend on how strong I was, but I needed to depend on the grace of God that is bigger and stronger than we can ever imagine.

That’s my reminder when I look at this drunken tattoo.

That a girl was lost and scared and was brought out – still imperfect, still damp, but WHOLE – through grace.

 

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I hope it never fades, and I’m confident it won’t. (His grace, that is.)

Keep swimming, loves

Cheers!

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I’m not a Hipster.

For a good portion of my adult life I’ve thought I was a hippie/hipster.

hip·pie

[hip-ee] 

noun

a person, especially of the late 1960s, who rejected establishedinstitutions and values and sought spontaneity, direct personalrelations expressing loveand expanded consciousness, often expressed externally in the wearing of casual, folksy clothing and ofbeads, headbands, used garments, etc.

 

 

hip·ster

 [hip-ster] 

noun Slang.

1.

a person who is hip.
2.
a person, especially during the 1950s, characterized by aparticularly strong sense of alienation from most established social activities and relationships.

 

It was about the time when my high school sweetheart and I broke up and I realized I had no idea who Hannah was without him.  I wanted to be different from the Abercrombie-clad girl that I was at that time, so naturally, I decided that I was a hippie.  In reality I was simply a funny poser, since I had no idea what this entailed or what it meant, but in my mind I was a hippie.  I began to smoke a tobacco pipe.  I went 4 solid months without ever wearing shoes. (Um, not even in bars.  I know.)  I wore long skirts and knitted caps in the middle of summer that I called “floppy knittas” and drank only sophisticated drinks like boxed wine.  I got big chunky glasses and began painting (horribly).  I got my nose pierced and wore a giant hoop in it.  I got a tattoo and looked into dreadlocks for my hair…because that’s what hippies do.

Some of you know this is true of me.  Some of you think I’m joking.

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feet. bare. tattoo. anklet. Soooooooo artsy. (Side note: those jeans are from Express…true poser)

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long skirt, floppy knitta.

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The nose ring.  You guys, I KNOW.

Surprisingly, it took a good 4 years or so to realize that I am not, in fact, a hippie/hipster.

Last night I fully accepted this reality.  I went to a bar to listen to a few bands at Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids.  It’s grungy and eclectic and has numerous arcade games.  It is a hipster bar, and if you are not of this mold, you stand out.  I once had my friend meet me there and she showed up in a neon pink t-shirt which only enhanced her bright blonde hair.  I was so embarrassed.  And now, months after the incident and knowing full well the atmosphere of this venue, I decided to wear a black peplum top with skinny jeans and cute sandals and a chunky gold necklace.  It wasn’t neon pink, but I did not fit in at the metal/rock/mosh-pit themed concert.

I did stand out, but that was okay with me.  I sipped my gin and tonic and swayed with the beat (okay totally off beat because I’m that white) and sincerely enjoyed each of the bands.  Side note: Mosh pits are a major white people thing.  We had to have invented it because anyone who can actually dance would have to prefer that over shoving each other around in a manic state.

Anyway.  Everyone was really into the first band, which happened to include one of Ryan’s friends as the drummer.  The lead singer was addressing the audience and thanking them when he announced, “This will be our last song for you tonight.”

I was expecting an uproar of encouragement for them to keep going.  Instead it was dead silent aside from me screaming at the top of my lungs, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

If I didn’t stand out before, I surely stood out then, as every eye turned to stare at the peplum-donning girl with fresh blonde highlights freaking out.  (maybe not every eye, but Ryan says a good 70 people were laughing at me…I wouldn’t know because I was covering my eyes in embarrassment, though I heard the laughs.)

I’m okay with not being part of this crowd.  They’re stylish and sexy and always know the name of bands no one else has heard of.  They can pull off nose rings and tattoos and dread locks.  They’re freaking cool, man.

But I’m okay with just being me.  As I’ve transitioned out of my desire to be part of any particular societal brand, (whether that be hippie, professional, glamorous, etc.) I’ve also taken on a saying that one of my dear friends from Wyoming always said, “If people don’t like what they see, then they can look away.”

It’s true.  We don’t need to dress or act or be a certain way.  If you think I dress like a weirdo, guess what? I completely don’t care!  And if you think I act like a weirdo?  Well, you’d be totally right.  I’m entirely out of my mind.

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I hope you’re okay with not fitting any certain mold, because you’re totally perfect as you.

Here’s to you, but also to me (don’t want to be picking favorites!)

Cheers 🙂

Finding Home

 

Yesterday, April 1, marked two years since I’ve moved back to Michigan. It was also my mother’s birthday.

Two years ago I walked into the house I grew up in after driving 26 hours across the country to surprise my mom on her birthday. What a fun birthday surprise, right?

What she didn’t realize was that I also had my car packed full of all my junk to move back into her house (for what would turn into a two year visit).

This video is of that moment, caught in all its awkward splendor by my sister, Rachel (she and my Dad were “in the know”). I remember being terrified, shaking, wondering how she would react. I also remember that I was terrified and shaking for more than just that reason. (um, i’ll work on the video…not tech saavy)

I made the decision to move home pretty quickly, and I had no idea if my soul was ready to be plunked so suddenly back into the town I grew up in.

I made the decision to move out to Wyoming late in November, 2009, after many conversations with one of my best friends in the world, Betsy. She was already living out there, and had grown in so many ways – personally, spiritually, etc. I craved the same experience, and finally, I told her, “I’m coming out there.”

She was the only reason it came to fruition. She found the apartment, put down the deposit. She made every single plan, and in a very short time, because just over a month after I made the decision to pack up and go, I was on the road. January 3, 2010, and told myself I would never live in Michigan again.

I can’t imagine that now. I’m going to be very real with you for a minute: I was a part-time waitress at Applebees. I had saved up just over $500. I had no job waiting for me out there.

I think about it now and wonder, how the heck did I dare to do that?!

There is no way it would happen today. I can’t commit to purchasing a brand new computer, for goodness sake.

But it’s because Michigan no longer felt like home to me. I felt suffocated, branded, and judged by it. I felt like it accused me of not fitting in (and feeling like an outsider in your hometown isn’t fun). I also had this free-spirit-wanna-be-hippie-but-totally-not thing going on inside of me that was the most tumultuous roller coaster, and the only way I can describe it is that I was at a loss for an identity. Which makes perfect sense. Because if you don’t feel at home in yourself, how are you supposed to feel at home in your hometown?

But that brought on another issue: If you have no sense of who you are in one place, you are not guaranteed to find it in another.

I thought Wyoming would solve my problems. Small town, mountains in your backyard, how could that not fill your soul every day with answers to life?

Well, it doesn’t. There were times out west when I felt more detached, more lost, confused, anxious, and angry than I ever felt in Michigan. I know without a doubt that the emptiness I felt was as present as my physical self. If I thought leaving Michigan would only make things better, I quickly found out how wrong I was.

Okay, the point I’m trying to make/the blessing. (I know, I know, thank you God there is a good part, because seriously, super depressing here)

Things slowly began to heal inside of me. I thought I was so tough and so (eek, this is hard to write) right, (No seriously, I thought I was always right) when I actually had NO idea what was going on in my life or where I was going. If anyone asked me what I believed, what I thought was important, or even what my goals in life were, I had no answer. They would receive from me some confused babbling (trying to sound philosophical, probably). And seriously, when you don’t know this about yourself and then you realize it, you suddenly know deep in your core where you are really supposed to be; where “home” is for you then.  It’s whether or not you take the step to get there.

I packed everything, including anxieties and fears, into my little spaceship-looking car and headed back to Michigan. You can see in the video how unsure I am. I mean, come on, I’m looking the mother who loves me beyond my wildest imagination in her eyes saying “I’m home” and then I just stand there. (No wonder she didn’t get it.)

Michigan may not be my home for the rest of my life, and I hope that you can see by now that that isn’t the point. Home is knowing/finding/being comfortable in the search of what you believe in and physically and emotionally stand for every day. It’s the very core of who you are. It’s surrounding yourself, no matter where, with those who bring out the absolute best in you. It’s being caught in the scariest, saddest, most heart-breaking time of your life and having someone to turn to. Those people that will see you for you and, even after you’ve broken their heart time and time again, and love you beyond your shittiness.

Right now, y’all, I’m home.

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Can I give any advice?  Okay, I will

If you’re looking, start by looking at whom you are surrounding yourself with.  It’s everything.

If you think I sound like a crazy person, well, congratulations, because you have probably never had an overdrawn account, broken bone, lost a loved one, or had any other sad moment in your life. Or maybe go take a shot of whiskey and re-read once your emotions are a tad more revved up.

To kicking off your shoes,

Cheers