A Scar, A Tattoo, and A New Outlook

For the first 23 or so years of my life, I was always of the opinion that I would never get a tattoo. Commitments are scary, and the thought of committing to having ink on my body for eternity was something I that I wanted no part of. This was the reason I decided to have a mole removed from my ankle – I didn’t like the looks of it, and I didn’t want it to be part of me for eternity. So, I went to the dermatologist to have it removed. I figured, once the stitches were out and healed, I’d be basically back to normal with a slight scar that was much better looking than what was once there. However, life doesn’t always go as planned.

Six days after having the mole removed, I received a call from my dermatologist directly. This was my first time seeing this particular doctor, but I knew a call from MD herself probably wasn’t a good sign. She told me that the results of the biopsy showed that the mole was melanoma, and that there had been a tumor in my leg for years that I never knew about. Not the course I was expecting the situation to take.

This led to a subsequent surgery that involved searching the area of my ankle where the tumor was located to make sure the cancer didn’t spread. Because this area had been stitched up during the initial procedure, simple stitches a second time were not an option, and a plastic surgery had to be completed to piece everything back together (sidebar: I do find it entertaining to be able to say “I have a plastic surgeon”…he’s very talented, by the way). Anyway, this left me with an oval shaped scar that is about an inch and half in length and a little over half an inch in width. It changed the entire groove and look of my ankle and is a bit of an eyesore (and an odd conversation starter).

So, what’s the connection between this and what I was talking about initially? Well, it’s been hard for me to look at my leg and see what’s there. It’ll heal a bit in time, but will never be completely the same. This got me thinking, if I have to commit to this, even if not by choice, why can’t I commit to something that I would actually enjoy looking at and could be an expressive piece of who I am?

IMG_3200This made me to realize that it wasn’t the tattoo that I was afraid of, it was the commitment. I finally said, screw it, and thought about the things that have significance to me. I kept coming back to movies, and from there, Back to the Future was (and always is) the answer. I immediately knew that a minimalist version of the Flux Capacitor (“which is what makes time travel possible”) was exactly what my body was missing. And, ever since I was a kid and watched Charmed everyday before school, I always thought a wrist tattoo was a cool look. From there, I did what any sound 24-year old would do, I went to a bottomless mimosa brunch with one of my best friends, and followed it up with a trip to the tattoo shop where we both got a lil’ somethin’ that means a lot to us.

Now, when I look down at my leg, I think about how lucky I am that the aforementioned cancer didn’t spread. And, when I look at my wrist, I think of my favorite line from Future, “if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.” Even though it’s tiny, and most people assume that it’s just a Y, I love it and I’m so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone to get it.

Life will always be there to throw curve balls, but it’s up to us to bounce back and find the beauty or lesson in any situation. Oh, and never be afraid to express yourself.

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