By Cheryl Hansen
I have a new tattoo.
I’m not exactly the tattoo type, but I now have two. The first was acquired many years ago when my corporate PR team decided we’d all need to get something pierced or tattooed after a holiday lunch that may or may not have included a cocktail or two. Off we went to the House of Freaks in Hollywood. Since I’d already pierced everything I had any intention of piercing, I HAD to get the tattoo, right? I’d never given it much thought, but there we were. The moment was right. I know a good story when I see one.
I found the experience meaningful in ways I hadn’t imagined. When my co-workers expressed shock that I was actually going through with the whole thing, my boss (who remains my friend to this day) said, “When Cheryl sets her mind to something, she does it. Every. Single. Time.” I was contemplating a life change at the time, and I think her comment fueled me. It still would today if I’d let it.
With alarmingly little thought, I decided on a sunflower tattoo that day. Sunflowers, I learned, always turn toward to the sun.
This time around, I knew what I wanted. I lost my mom 20 years ago Christmas day and I felt a tattoo would be a fun way to celebrate my sweet and quirky mom. I wanted a cardinal this time—the brilliant red bird became a symbol for my mom in a dream I had shortly after her death. (I learned later that it’s considered the Christmas bird.) I decided to place the tattoo on my wrist so that, as my 7-year-old daughter lovingly suggested, I could give my mom a hug whenever I wanted. The actual position of the cardinal came into question, however, when the artist suggested I place it so that anyone looking at my wrist would be able to read the image easily. That placement meant the image would be upside down from my point of view, which didn’t feel right. I decided with confidence that I really didn’t care how anyone else viewed it. This was for me.
That realization hit me. My transformation has been for everyone and everything but me. I’ve been focused on things like upcoming trips, bets, skinny jeans, my kids, my dad, my neighbor, my third grade teacher (ok, maybe not her, but you get the idea). It’s a message I get every single time I get on my yoga mat: this time, this moment is for me. I just haven’t been listening.
It might be possible to learn a thing or two from tattoos—just in time for the new year. When I set my mind to something, I do it. Every. Single. Time. I always turn toward to the sun. And it’s important to see things from the right point of view. Mine.