no mud, no lotus / happy birthday to me!

Today I turned 31, which is weirder than 30. I had to write my age on a form today and it was bizarre. I’m not entirely sure why, but Brenna suspects it’s because we’re “reeling on 40,” which is probably accurate. Oh well!

My birthday went a little something like this:

  • Aerial yoga in the morning
  • Birthday tattoo! More on that in a minute.
  • Errands. This is not birthday related, just stuff that needs to get done because adulthood.
  • Dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack with Kyle, Jenna, and Harrison (Darren requested the wrong day off(!) so he had to work)
  • Now I’m watching Fixer Upper, drinking a vodka tonic, and writing this. I need some cake.

It doesn’t sound like much, but I like a good low-key day. I’m going to see Paul McCartney on Wednesday, which was my gift to myself, so I still have that to look forward to!

All right, so here’s the tattoo story and also the meaning behind the design.

Darren told me several months ago that he knew what he was going to get me for my birthday, and it required an appointment. I was like “oooh, massage?” but he said he wasn’t going to tell me and it was going to be a surprise the day of. So I figured, definitely massage or spa day or something. HOWEVER. The day he called to make the appointment, we were IMing. He told me that my appointment was scheduled for 12:30pm on my birthday, but then he said that he had to spill the beans because “she needs some info in advance so… what are you going to get for your tattoo!!??” I was PISSED because who schedules a tattoo as a surprise? You need to be prepared for that shit. After our wee fight, I started warming up to the idea. I had been talking about a tattoo for a couple years, so it’s not like it came from nowhere but it’s a good thing he told me. If I had shown up there with no clue, I probably would not have gone inside.

Anyway, when I first started considering said tattoo a few years ago, I was leaning toward something cat or generally pet related. That’s still on the table for tattoo #2, but I had since made a different plan. I was in a yoga class one day, and the teacher quoted Thich Nhat Hanh, and talked about the idea behind “no mud, no lotus” – the secret to happiness is to acknowledge and transform suffering, not run away from it. So I decided to get a simple lotus tattoo. If I go deeper, it does become a sort of memorial to my father. I could probably do a whole post on that, but the point is that my life (and Kyle’s, of course) was going in one direction, but then dad died and it took a hard, horrible turn… and still ended up being pretty great. You know what I mean?

Side note: there’s a Cloud Cult lyric version of this idea from the song Complicated Creation, and it says “you can’t know beauty if you don’t know pain.” Always happy to incorporate Cloud Cult into everything, forever. That song also includes one of my favorite lines “some days you give thanks, some days you give the finger.”

Whew. Okay, so here it is, and it definitely felt like a being poked by a bunch of needles. At least it only took about ten minutes, although I sure did sweat a lot in that short amount of time (ew):

lotus tattoo


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