Go With The Flow

Today I’d like to dive into the story behind my tattoo. {yes I have one & yes my mom knows…} While tattoos are kick ass & I have the itch & want more… the story behind my first & only is really special to me – as I’m sure everyone else’s are.

I knew I wanted a tattoo as soon as I discovered what they were. The idea of wearing permanent art just fascinated me, especially if I could find something that told a story. Growing up I thought I wanted a bow, tiny heart or even lyrics to a Tswift song {bless} but kept holding off because I wasn’t completely sold on what perfectly described ME. For those of you that know me, or don’t but read this blog, you know that I’m a multifaceted person. I have sooooo many unique traits, gifts & passions.

For Example:

I love the Ocean. I love to paint. I sing. I dance. I act. I love working with Dolphins. I love fashion. I love music. I love my dogs. I love to sew. I love to write. I love to draw. I love to crochet. I love to cook. I love Jesus. I love Texas. I love Missouri. I love interior design. I love Mexican food. I love Florida. I love reptiles. I love Netflix. I love sushi. I love coffee. I love my fam. I love nachos. I love my hubs. I love Disney. I love guacamole. I love wine. I love Star Wars. I love plants. I love Spongebob. I love gin & tonics. I love flowers. I love trees. I LOVE MANY, MANY THINGS!!

So how do I even begin to incorporate that into a single tattoo? A sleeve. Problem solved. {jk mom. jk} I was consistently struggling with the idea & how I’d ever be happy with something so permanent if I couldn’t even figure out what category it should be. As I grew older in college, I narrowed it down to something involving the ocean. The ocean was my life – still is. It draws my wonder, respect & need to protect it at all moments of the day. There isn’t a day that goes by where I’m not either in the water, talking about animals that depend on it’s ecosystem or inspiring others to help conserve it.

I began thinking about the ocean, it’s waves… the push & pull of tidal patterns & how so many animals depended on its currents for survival. I promised myself that once I achieved my dream of becoming a dolphin trainer, I’d reward all those years of hard work with a tattoo. Well that time came in the Summer of 2016 when I landed my job with the Navy Marine Mammal Program. Wow. I did it. I was where I wanted to be. In the actual ocean working with actual dolphins in order to protect actual things. It was a cool moment for me {as we read in my I’m 25 & Thriving post}.

As the months went on in that job, I really learned a lot about myself & my quirks. I am a type A person. I like structure. Order. Plans. Routine. The military was a great place for me to work… except for the fact that it’s actually impossible to have that consistency on a daily basis. Especially when working with animals – you have your training plan set. You work out all the possibilities & how you’ll react with each option. You go over it with mentors, peers & yourself. You practice. You perfect. But in that moment, the animal has a mind of their own, is encouraged to use that mind of their own & suddenly none of your planning is relevant. YOU GO WITH THE FLOW. Plans change. You adapt. Things go wrong. You overcome. This taught me SO much about myself, the way I handled situations in my personal life & even why I get so frustrated with the majority of the population.

It taught me about my childhood & why I really only have a few close friends. Why people initially think I’m a classic case of RBF & intensely intimidating. I like plans. I’m a hard core perfectionist. I have the utmost highest expectations of myself  & think that people around me match that of themselves – news flash, they don’t. I get frustrated easily when people don’t match my drive for work, life & dreams. When people are lazy it irks me intensely. As a kid I was determined to be the best at everything. The best grades. The most medals. The highest of anything; it was a lot of self inflicted pressure that was honestly a waste of time.

There will always be someone smarter, better, faster & stronger. Someone who has “the gift” where it comes naturally. While a lot of that happens for me, it doesn’t in every category. Working for the NMMP during our Hurricane evacuation really taught me to let go, let others help me & to appreciate the collective brain of a group. It was such a freeing moment in disguise. Enter the glorious Hurricane Matthew 2016!

So this hurricane came out of nowhere {literally looked like a skull}, threatened to hit directly at our base & was coming with a vengeance. Long story short, we evacuated with our NMMP animals & it was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done in my life {oh & we did it again the following year for Irma – thanks global warming} I didn’t have time to help my hubs with prep for our own home. I had to leave him & my dogs to go do my job. I felt powerless, helpless & so out of complete control. But I did it. Amanda survived.

Now was the time that I knew I wanted my tattoo. First of all, I’d survived an event that really left an impact on me, my job & my relationships. Second, I made a ton of money in overtime & hazard pay. Third, I’d finally figured out what I wanted. A wave.

The wave really encompassed everything that was special to me. The Ocean. It represented my new outlook on my job & life. Go With The Flow. It was symbolic. The Hurricane. It was a reminder. Life Pushes & Pulls. It was simple. It was artistic. It was going to perfectly describe me, my personal journey & my life dreams. I love the ocean. I work with & around the ocean. The ocean is was ignites my passions & soul. Literally convinced I am Moana, okay.

So I did it. I got my tattoo on my left wrist. It’s the size of a quarter & I love it. It’s a single line, a single wave & a single movement. Waves go up & down. Life has highs & lows. My personality ebbs & flows. It’s there when I want to look at it. It’s hidden by my wetsuit at work these days, but it’s just a subtle reminder to myself of everything I’ve achieved to get to where I am. Mentally. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. I’ve grown. I’ve changed. I’ve improved. I look at my life as a great story to tell someday & this is just a small piece of it. {Also the way I designed it, if you tilt the wave to the left it also resembles a dolphin dorsal fin… so hey hey.}

There you go. My story of my first & only {so far} tattoo. I love it. I live it. It’s me.

x -A


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