It’s been two weeks since my return from New York and I’m slipping back into my usual, mundane reality. It wasn’t until I returned to England that I clicked that, hey, I essentially was paid to go to New York.
It was a huge realisation.
My explorations of the city alternated with recording the arts blog that my grant required, meeting and interviewing people, and preparing for the talk at the Museum of Morbid Anatomy. I’d be up at two in the morning writing, and would find myself thinking, have I got some sort of problem, some sort of pathological issue that means even a holiday has to have a ulterior purpose that creates the need for me to work constantly.
When I had the revelation that essentially I was being financially compensated to do what I loved doing, it was overwhelming and wonderful.
Okay the money didn’t quite cover costs, but at this point of elation I’m not going to quibble.
This turning point has been recorded in the appropriate manner, with a new tattoo.
Years ago rites of passage for me were marked by scars. I had drugs to spend my money on, so tattoo work wasn’t an option.
That changed when I got sober.
The first tattoo I had done was a pentagram at the base of my spine to protect me, which also laid to rest a particularly nasty attack I suffered just before I cleaned up.
Further tattoos developed from there. Every one was a talisman, marked a rite of passage or honoured someone I loved who had died.
Someone in A.A said to me once that they were just another form of self harm. I looked at the burns on my arms, the scars on my wrists, the still visible abscess and track marks and remember who I was when I did that to myself.
Each tattoo acknowledges the emergence of an aspect of my self that I love, like and respect.
So now I have a badger tattoo on my arm; a feisty, powerful psychopomp that marks another forward journey, and its permanent companionship for me on many more adventures.