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So here’s one of those blog posts where I try to document my life for posterity (aka my future trips down “memory lane”). This was practically my only “new years resolution” after I created the massive 2015 blog post about my favorite moments, I told myself that I’d be better about documenting my experiences – so here we go!

I finally did it. I finally found the courage to get that second tattoo.

Since high school I’ve wanted some kind of TWLOHAish themed tattoo. A lot of it was as a representation/tribute to my friendship with Katie and the hills and valleys we’ve climbed together. For YEARS I would write “love” on my left wrist. Every day in painting class senior year…for TWLOHA inspired “holidays”…when I needed a pick-me-up – I have many FB pictures of these penned “tattoos.”

As the years progressed, I wasn’t as committed to the word “love,” but still wanted something related to the ideals that TWLOHA set for me. A lot of this switch had to do with truly finding myself as a person. Moving beyond the surface level meaning and wanting something that really spoke for Tori. Turning a cliche into a guiding principal, if you will.

A couple years ago, TWLOHA shared Kevin Breel‘s TEDx talk, “Confessions of a Depressed Comic.” I’ve shared this many times. His talk brought me my new favorite quote, and a kind of self-rule:

“The world I believe in is one where embracing your light doesn’t mean ignoring your dark.”

Man. That’s the kind of world that I want to believe in. I feel like I’ve talked about this quote so much that my friends are probably tired of hearing about it. At the same time, that’s the kind of world I want for us all, so I’m going to keep sharing it. Sorry not sorry. Although I’m not even sharing this post lol….

There are so many parts of me that are beautiful and light. And those parts are worth appreciating and sharing and being cherished for. But there are also parts of me that are heavy, dark and twisted. And I shouldn’t feel like I need to hide those parts of me, feel ashamed or think they make me any less worthy. I am heavy and light.

So I took that and ran with it. I decided that a shortened version of that quote would represent this part of myself: embracing your light doesn’t mean ignoring your dark. To accept and love myself for who I am – all the parts that make me who I am.

It took me a while to get the courage to get this one – because of my lack of pain tolerance and my fear of needles and all the anxiety that comes with a tattoo – especially when I decided to get this one on my ribs. One day on FB, Sarah sent me a link about a Harry Potter event for Valentine’s Day. It got us thinking, “let’s do something fun for Valentine’s Day.” It was a good excuse to treat ourselves, nonetheless. We toyed around with the idea of taking a trip, but never got very excited nor committed to any idea in particular. Then she came to visit me in Birmingham one weekend and we got on the subject of tattoos – how I kept growing with desire to get mine and how she really wanted to get a second one (although she hadn’t decided what for sure). So then later that week I had an epiphany  – “Sarah…let’s get tattoos for Valentine’s Day.”

So we made plans. We set a date. And we made it happen.

It was really great. Sarah and Travis held my hands. Lily made sure my shirt covered my boobs (lol) and Kyle was our photographer. It did hurt, but really wasn’t all too terrible. And it took maybe 15-20 minutes? I’m not really sure. There were moments when it sucked, but even after a bit I was pretty used to the sensation. I think if I ever decide to get a third one, I won’t be as afraid….but we’ll see if that ever happens.

It was really great to go through this experience with friends, and especially Sarah by my side. She really has become a part of my soul. Sarah said it best: “I love that both of our tattoos have to do with loving ourselves completely and loving each other despite our faults. I love all parts of you and I’m so grateful for how they bring out the best in me.” She’s a great best friend.

I’m very happy with my tattoo. I love the placement. I love the meaning. And I love that I got it in my own handwriting. I couldn’t ever find a typeface that I liked enough to get permanently on my body, but my handwriting seemed to fit well with the concept behind my tattoo. Raw beauty kind of idea. I also told myself that I shouldn’t nitpick my writing – obviously be happy with its overall appearance, but it didn’t have to be perfect – just like me. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on the script specifically – and people are usually surprised to find out it’s my writing.

I’m excited for summer so I can show it off a little more. And I’m ready for it to completely heal…it’s a bit itchy right now.

So, here’s to putting myself out there with ink…again. I don’t feel the need to make as public of an explanation as last time. This is forever a part of me, now.

Embracing your light doesn’t mean ignoring your dark.

New tattoo

Need a tattoo artist in Auburn, Alabama? Try Ryan at Shenanigan’s Tattoo – he was incredibly patient and so cool

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