Today is my 27th birthday.
This photo is from May 6th, 2007. My 19th birthday. When I got my first tattoo...I really do love getting older. Mostly because I realize how stupid I used to be. I know we are human and are constantly growing and changing, which is what we are supposed to do, but you could not pay me enough to go back to ages 18-23. Sometimes I cringe looking at old photos because I think "GOD MORGAN YOU'RE SO STUPID!" (said in Regina George voice) but then I feel kind of proud because I grew out of so many bad habits and unhealthy phases, and that's a big accomplishment right there. I'm sure right now there are tons of things I will look back on in a few years and cringe about too, but that's okay. It's something I am trying to learn to not be embarrassed about. It's just part of life. But trust me, I have done a lot of stupid things. Things that I regret or just wish I had done differently. But as much as I wish I had just "known" certain things before, that's the beautify of life I guess. The lessons are there for a reason.
I thought it would be "meaningful" to get it on my birthday. This guys name was Dwayne and he was a complete whack. I actually cried right when I left because it looked so bad. I had to pay someone else to fix it a few weeks later. You don't realize when you get a tattoo that everyone will ask about it. I've had to explain it a million times. And each time I get embarrassed and mumble, "oh, it's just a star." Just the other day at Kroger the younger cashier girl asked about it, then told me her tattoo idea and I lectured her to not get any tattoos. She probably won't listen.
Here are the top 3 things I've learned from getting older that all can be related back to this photo.
1. Don't try to be like anyone else.
My tattoo looks very similar to this. Back in the day, Nicole Richie was everything. I wanted to be exactly like her. I still like her a lot (she is so, so hilarious) but I know now that I am pretty much nothing like her, and I won't ever be. Copying someone else's hair style, or clothing or tattoos won't make you like that person. Don't waste your time working to be more like someone else, use that time to get to know yourself. It's like that very popular Pinterest quote, "Be yourself, everyone else is taken." It's so true.
2. Always consider your future.
In that moment did I ever think that years later I would be planning job interview outfits soley based on wearing long sleeves to cover that tattoo? No, not at all. Sometimes when I meet new people I start to feel self conscious, and cross my arms or hold my other hand over my wrist. At my last job I was actually required to wear a band-aid over it. And...I liked wearing the band-aid. I remember a friend telling me once that as long as you carried yourself well tattoos shouldn't be a problem (like Angelina Jolie was her example) but because of my tattoos I feel like I have to try that much harder to make up for them. It's probably the main reason my style has gotten a lot more classic (boring) in the last few years, I have to compensate for the 21 year old silly girl tattoos. Basically the older I get the more of a cautious person I've become. In all areas of my life. Because the things that we do now follow us forever...
3. Don't make the same mistake twice.
I would like to say that I recognized and labeled this first tattoo experiment as a mistake and learned my lesson. But, no. By the time I was 21 I had a total of 4 tattoos. And today, at age 27 I want NONE OF THEM. It took me 3 years and 4 tattoos to finally realize that they weren't for me. After the first one, I knew I didn't like it but thought, "I'll get a better one next time." Fail. I pretty much went through the same thought process each time, not learning my lesson at all. I have a peace sign on my ankle, an M initial on my hip (the only one I actually don't hate with a passion) and "Faith" on the back of my neck. That one is the best when people ask what it means..."I have no idea, I had a trucker hat that said Faith on it and it seemed like a good solid word to put on my body." Haha..seriously though. I have no good answer for that one.
My Mom always says that our twenties are for trying on different personalites, and I am so glad to be almost out on the other side of that. I know once we turn 30 we aren't magically figured out and are the people we want to be. I know it's a lifelong journey. But I think we learn more about ourselves than ever while we're in our twenties. I could be totally wrong. I actually have a feeling I will be spending the rest of my life learning about (and embarrassing) myself. One little shooting-star lesson at a time.
*I hope this offends no one. That is not my intent at all, it's just my personal experience. Tattoos are great, just not for me.*