“So, a fireman walks into a tattoo joint called “Hearts of Fire”…..”

And thus begins a joke that has never been told. Mostly because it’s not a joke, but partly because the journey, like so many before, is unpredictable at best. It began so long ago, and the path has been so twisted and arduous, I don’t think I can describe it in a solitary essay. It warrants more than that. And, my god, what a journey it has been.

But however it began, the rhythm of the universe lead me to wander into the aforementioned shop to have a discussion with the owner for more than one reason; the first being to thank him for my latest piece of work, a collaboration between my own art (but not entirely original, rather, an interpretation) and his artistry, the result of which will remain on my body for eternity. Secondly was to discuss a passing conversation revolving around my art, his skills, The Passionate Woman and a chance touch-up appointment which had proven the catalyst for something remarkable.

The details are fuzzy, but the gist remains: sometimes it takes a conversation with an unbiased outsider for your heart, mind and soul to agree for a single moment in time. And what a beautiful thing it is, when across the miles and hurt, the song of the soul is returned by the faint chorus of its counterpart.

Friends, bystanders, haters and family alike have all witnessed this unwritten dance between two souls and have, almost to a person, dismissed it as impossible. I like those kinds of odds. What is the purpose of a life without daring greatly for that which our heart yearns? Are you content to live the life that chose you as opposed to the life you chose, to paraphrase an almighty songwriter? So many of us are, and it is not my place to judge their journey. I can only speak to mine, and it is one that burns with an unparalleled fury. A fury that has hurt many, intrigued some, cost me greatly and made sense to none but one. And now that my mind and heart have done the hard work of wandering alone in a crowded life, that fury has been tamed but not dampened. A life without passion is one I don’t want to ever know. I don’t know if I could know it.

And a solitary tattoo artist, in a solitary conversation, allowed her own soul to glimpse from behind the walls of her heart and hear her song being sung. I’m not sure where the journey leads next, and I don’t think I want to know; to taste and savor each and every emotion is a privilege indeed, even the hurts and raw honesty. The journey is the flavor, really. Be it the ink on our bodies or the songs within our souls, that journey is what defines us all.

My god, what a journey it has been.

Pen & Ink

Pen & Ink