Ladies and Gentlemen, I finally did it. I finally got the tattoo that I have been wanting for three years, but have pushed off because of financial need. I finally got the tattoo that means more than anyone realizes. I finally got the tattoo in honor of your memory, Andrew, that I promised you I’d get when you weren’t around to hear it. So, I decided instead of just posting a picture of the tattoo, I’d also post the story behind it. So here goes nothing.
August 23, 2010. A date that will haunt me for the rest of my days. It was the day my best friend died. He may have been taken away from me and by all the others who adored him, but his memory and what he taught us has always remained. That first week after he passed, everyone said, “Fly High in the Sky, Andrew.” It was a motto that gave us comfort at the time and something that stuck with me since then. Andrew was one of my best friends and it was some of the worst pain I have ever felt to lose him so early, but what people may not realize is how much his passing changed my life completely. And it is for that reason that I got this tattoo.
My high school years were amazing, but also difficult for me as I tried to find myself. And more importantly, tried to love myself; love who I am and who God made me to be. And for most of my high school career, I failed at that. I suffered from undiagnosed depression and had major self esteem issues. That is a whole ‘nother story for another day, but needless to say, I took life for granted. I took my life for granted. I didn’t realize how utterly amazing and utterly blessed my life was. And then my best friend died. Most people would think that would have been drop bottom; that that would have ruined me. But it actually was the biggest eye-opener that I could have experienced. That event made me realize that I am not infinite and tomorrow is never guaranteed. And it hurt. And it was shocking. It was surreal. But it also forced me to make a choice: to live my life in the half depressed, half happy state that I had been living in or to live my life to something greater. I came to a crossroads and I can happily say that I went down a different path that the one I went down in high school. And I’ve stayed on that path now, in my junior year of college. And I have Andrew to thank for that, and I will never be able to thank him enough for everything he taught me, both while I was blessed to know him and beyond.
Tattoos are a big way of expression for me. I love them as an artwork and I love what the have the power to represent. I have three tattoos now and I prolly won’t be stopping anytime soon, as long as every tattoo I get means something to me. The most recent one I got yesterday afternoon reflects the biggest life change I have ever experienced and honors the best person I have ever known.
That is the tattoo. I got it on my inner right foot. It is a sparrow, representing freedom that I got in memory of the motto, “Fly High in the Sky.” Then, I have his initials on the sparrow, because this tattoo is for him. And I got the words “Carpe Diem” for Seize the Day, something my Dad has already preached to me many times over but something that I am truly trying to live out in honor of Andrew and what he has taught me.
So, that is my story about my third tattoo. I absolutely love it and I hope others love it, too. And I hope and pray that you will Seize the Day every day of your life. As cliché as it is, life is much too short to do anything less.