As a young child, diabetes saddled me with responsibilities, and everything I did was carefully controlled. It made me ignore my insecurities, become pent up with the need for freedom, and crack in the most disgusting ways.
Yeah, I went and led myself into temptation. Well, wasn’t I unique. Couldn’t people recognize the difference between self-sabotage and liberation, or even healthy experimentation? Why did it have to be healthy, anyway? Perhaps you need to hit rock bottom before you can completely shed layers of illusion and begin anew from an empty pit. This was the mindset I adopted in order to push myself to crack.
I see now that the urge to act recklessly came from the child-me with the world on her shoulders. She felt silenced by adult-sized concerns, and like anyone who feels choked of their voice, she turned bitter, nasty, and brutal. She got louder.
Then she ran amuck. It was fucking hell, let me tell you what.
Thankfully, working with children gave her some childhood experiences and unconditional love. She was able to facilitate her need for freedom by riding shotgun across the nation. And, quite honesty, doing some reckless shit was pretty fun while also revealing the depths of her darkness.
However, in allowing this child to act childish, the disciplined-me got robbed of her voice. As a former friend used to say, if we begin at one end of the pendulum, we don’t know our center until we swing to the other side.
I’m beginning to realize that these two forces don’t have to oppose each other anymore. They did their thing, and it’s time to join forces. I can pursue spontaneity and freedom with responsibility and reserve.
My three lotus tattoos represent major shifts in my personality: intellectual and spiritual awakening, devoted love, and sexual liberation. As for my deep friendship with Tina, I got the cover art for Sing the Sorrow by the band AFI, which serves as her lotus. Although I feel significantly different again, a new tattoo doesn’t feel right. For the first time, I feel pulled toward jewelry: a handforged lotus ring with a labradorite stone.
This lotus represents renewal, as it always has for me. Labradorite represents harmony within myself, a balance between anxiety and joy or darkness and light, where one moment you’re looking at a dark smoky gray rock, and another you’re looking at blue, green, and a spark of yellow. As every lotus tattoo represents a relationship and a personal transformation, this ring represents those things, as well. It began with my first classroom of kiddos, my hope and kickstarter. Presently, it represents my closest friends, those who challenge me to face my negative mindset and embrace joy. It takes some grueling effort to wait out a spiral, but I’m beginning to figure out what’s getting in the way so I can work toward feeling more at ease and forge a more meaningful and fulfilling life.
The ring designer and her metalsmith (who split their time between a small studio in France and their workshop in Northern Thailand) knew my intention while forging this piece, and although I don’t believe the stone offers anything additional to my own will, it’s neat that it was made specifically for me as a promise of union. This gem has one orientation that shows much more flash and green than the other orientation, which is quieter with greys and blues. The colors in labradorite are not actually present in the stone, but rather the result of light play within the stone. There is tension and anger, but there is also grace and beauty, and it’s up to me how I view those parts of myself.
Sterling silver lotus featuring a 7mm-wide natural Labradorite from Madagascar. Forged by hand using direct metal techniques.