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A Gift to Myself

Back when I was 16, I got a tattoo from an amateur artist of what was supposed to be two hearts and two roses with a ribbon flowing through them and ugh! a NAME. I love….   The man forever named on my breast was a real son of a bitch. A man  (I even hesitate to use that noun as he was more like a troll) who was awful to me but at the time, in my twisted adolescent brain, I thought more of him than he would ever deserve. For so long, I lived with that mark. As time passed, it faded a great deal. The name has been illegible for years. I got used to it. I even got to the point where I didn’t even really notice it anymore. Unless I did. And then there it was… A permanent reminder of one of the most painful periods of my life. Immortalized forever in dim tattoo ink, right over my heart.

I have experienced what feels like three lifetimes worth of stuff so far. Some of it has been damn hard. But I’m at a point now where I can honestly say I like who I am and who I’m growing into. I like what my life looks like. I am finding joy, I’m experiencing it. I am doing what I want to be doing in most areas and where I’m not, improvements are happening. I feel AWAKE. So, it was time to do something about that tainted blemish on my chest. I knew what I wanted but I did not know how to translate the image and the idea into words.

Thanks to the recommendation of a fellow cyclist, I learned of Paris Pierides of Paris Tattos in Charlotte. His work was so unique, I knew I wanted him to be my artist. I sat down with him and he showed me some of his past work. We talked. He asked questions. It seemed as if, as we discussed the options, his intuition talked to mine. That is the only explanation I can think of for how he managed to give me the exact tattoo I envisioned. It is so very beautiful. I feel more beautiful. It’s like having on the most perfect gown – the kind of gown that makes a woman feel as if she were the loveliest woman alive – only I get to wear it every day of my life.

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A few of my favorite things…

As the evening winds down and I prepare to retire to my room, I am struck by just how much I love crawling into my bed with a book. Having a few books strewn on the unused side is beautiful to me (the occasional presence of a lover isn’t bad either). That a cat or three is usually mixed in with the pile is all the better. In the morning, I will wake up to a cup of coffee, already brewed thanks to the pot’s handy self-timer. The simple life is for me.

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Ellen Goes to Tucson, Part Deux

Some people might worry that they should blog about a trip almost immediately upon their return home lest they forget all the good stuff. I guess if my trip to Tucson was anything less than the spectacular experience it was, I might be concerned. But I’ve got two things in my favor… 1) I made copious notes on my iPhone’s notepad app during my plane ride home (in first class because I’m just lucky like that) and 2) the experience was so specfuckingtacular that I remember quite clearly the beautiful people I met and enlightening things I learned – and while we did do some wonderful stuff with beads for hours upon glorious hours, the bead knowledge was secondary to the treasure I came home with.

The pure awesomeness of the people I met is something that will warm my heart for the rest of my days. Are you ready for this? Bead Warrior, Dustin Wedekind.  The Groove Queen, Teresa Sullivan. Triangle Temptress, Jean Power. The Right Angle Weave High Priestess of the West, Marcia DeCoster. Beading royalty, every one of them! And my fellow seed bead summitees , the lovely Gabriella van Diepen and her sweet husband, Jereon Medema. All of us hosted by Kate McKinnon, Masterful Goddess of the Catalyst. Every single person had their own brilliance and sparkle. And every single person was open and willing to share what they knew without limits.

I sat around a table with all of these people and we talked beads and color, thread and stitches. Then we explored without the pressure to finish a piece. We discussed how to conceive of a finished work from beginning to manifestation but mostly we were simply free to play with the beads and new techniques to the point that my ideas began to develop into future projects (which I had the good sense to sketch out on the plane in between my musings on the notepad).

Yes, I have much work to get going on in my studio. So many beads, so little time! Except I do have time. And I will continue to make time for what is important to me.

I will get to my bead work (as well as my other passions) because I left Tuscon with a fire rekindled in my soul and the absolute certainty that I am ready to WAKE UP. I am ready to stop acting like the quiet wall flower that I am not. I am ready to stop letting the bad suck me down so hard that I drown in the morass of unrealized potential. I am ready.

A lot? Yes. But I told you. I came home with treasure!

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