Tattoo on the mind

I’ll never forget the way it felt the first time.

The dark delight my inner rebel felt at the idea of it.

The sharp and unforgiving pain as the needle pushed itself through my skin’s barrier to deposit its permanent mark.

I’ll never forget how thankful I was when the pain stopped, but how I immediately wanted more.

I have ink dreams.

The colours and designs play with my brain during the wee hours of the night. Even the pain has become something I crave.

The permanence of the memories drawn across my body forces me to acknowledge the journey I have come through. The journey has made me who I am. It gives a sense of closure to the past while honouring it – allowing me to look to the future.

Many of you share in these ink dreams of colour and permanence. They represent more than just the images you see on the surface; they are a magnifying glass on particular points in your life story. 

Tattoos provide stability. No matter what society defines as the next fashion trend. No matter how you dress at work versus the weekend. No matter where your clothes come from, tattoos never change. 

They are always with you, to ground you and remind you of your sense of identity. It’s self expression that no one can take from you. Even if you chose to cover them during your working hours, the tattoos are there, living under the layers, giving your walk a certain confidence.

Like most dreams that want to become a reality, an experiment is usually the first step. My first tattoo was small and purposefully concealable. The words “forever bound” neatly scribed in the Urdu language live forever on my right lower back – symbolizing the bond to my longest friendship.

I didn’t know what it would feel like or how my skin would react. I didn’t trust myself to commit to something bigger for fear I wouldn’t like it as time passed.

It wasn’t until years later that I started to add. It seems the happier I am, the more I want to document it on my body. But that doesn’t mean that all tattoos symbolize something joyful or even symbolize something at all.

Sometimes an image speaks to me for unknown reasons, so I allow my artist to bring it to life. Some permanently inked bonds are for broken or lost souls; others are created in memory of those who have departed.

I have one tattoo that captures a relationship no longer intact. It serves as a beautiful reminder of what was and a hope for a future in which the ink represents a current bond once more.

I have ink dreams of colour and delight. I’m represented through all the stages of my life through the art that covers my body. I am also a professional in the workplace; I am a friend, a sister, and a wife.

None of my ink takes that away. It only enhances the visual journey of my life.

These ink dreams are spilling over into reality more and more as our world has no choice, but to accept what was, the unacceptable.

What are your stories told through ink, or the ones you would like to tell? If not ink, what are the ways you express yourself and the journeys you’ve been on?

Being born gives you the right to share. Don’t shy away from showing the world how amazing you are through any method you choose.

We all deserve to hear and see your story.


Why is bad easy to believe?

Creating Confidence part 4 of 4:

Why is it hard to believe that you are awesome?

Dear reader, you are awesome.

I know that if I were lucky enough to meet you, I would be inspired by your story. I would want to spend all afternoon hearing about your experiences and the insights you’ve gleaned from life.

Every day, I meet people who humble me. People who have been through real struggles and come out stronger. People who are passionate and full of love for their community. People who are so remarkable that I doubt my own awesomeness.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe; however, like you, I am awesome, too.

Why is it so easy to doubt ourselves? Why is the bad always easier to believe?

There actually is a scientific answer: It’s called negative bias and it is the human condition of which we give more weight to bad experiences than good ones. Researchers even have a formula for this weighting – apparently negative emotions have an impact of three times stronger than positive.

To put that astonishing fact into perspective: That means that I can tell you that you are amazing and if you immediately think “no I’m not,” that thought will have a negative effect three times greater than the positive effect of my compliment.

That is significant. Every time you have a negative thought about yourself, you are doing serious damage.    

If negativity has been proven to do considerable damage to our psyche, why doesn’t everyone hold a positive outlook all the time? Because, like the reason we form many bad habits, it’s the easy way out.

Humans naturally take the easiest route and it seems easier to hold a self-doubt than it does to work at improving your confidence.

It is natural to fall into a thought process of “I can’t” and negative self-talk supports that internal narrative. That is why people with confidence stand out and are often more successful in life.

Confidence does not come from putting others down. It is not an “I win; therefore, you lose.”

True confidence comes from believing in yourself. It is as simple as that. Once you believe in yourself, you no longer seek the approval from others, which allows you the freedom to follow your own path – That is where you find happiness and success.     

It’s time to stop those damaging, self-deprecating thoughts.

You are awesome. You are stronger than the negative narrative that wants to play on repeat in your brain. You can change it starting now. It won’t be easy or happen quickly, but you can take small steps every day to embrace your awesomeness.

A technique I love, and practise everyday is to start my day with gratitude. When I wake up in the morning and swing my feet out of bed, I put one foot down and say “thank” and the other foot down and say “you.”

Starting the day with gratitude is the best way to change your internal narrative. Instead of sluggishly rolling over and groaning as you pull yourself up – start it with thanks for the breath that flows from your lungs.

I have spent my last three articles focused on creating confidence because I truly believe that everyone should love themselves and recognize their own awesomeness. I have written about smiling and the positive side effects.

I’ve encouraged readers to own their spotlight especially if other try to drag them out of it. I’ve laid down a challenge to everyone to try something new every year. I have done this to inspire people to love who they see looking back at them in a mirror.

I hope that you, dear reader, will recognize just how awesome you are. Perhaps, one day, I’ll be lucky enough to hear your story.

This currency can be yours

Creating Confidence, part 3: The highest valued currency in the world.

More valued than dollars; worth more than Bitcoin; more sought after than any other form of fortune…   There is a currency you can accumulate to build your confidence, enable you to meet exciting new people, and develop your cognitive skills.

People spend their lives working to accumulate wealth for the purpose of purchasing this charmed currency. I am not only going to share with you what this currency is, but also, how you can start collecting it today.

Like all currencies, it doesn’t come without effort or a time commitment, however, unlike other currencies, once you have it, you can never lose it.

I learned about this currency three years ago and started collecting immediately. Since then, I have never felt more confident, I have never had more opportunities to meet such interesting and diverse people, and I’ve never been happier.

This treasured currency is – experience.

Sound too simple? Too straightforward? You’re correct. It is that easy and uncomplicated as a concept, but it still requires time, dedication and planning.

Think about why you want to build your wealth – it is to buy experiences to enrich your lives and those of your loved ones.

Why? Because experience builds our confidence, allows us to meet new and exciting people, and develops our intellectual skills.

Are these life changes experiences saved for only the ultra wealthy? Absolutely not!

What if I told you that you could have the same benefits as them? That you can have experiences that build your confidence, meet new people and develop your brainpower? 

It is possible for everyone.

All you must do is commit to learning a new skill or hobby every year. You don’t need to become an expert at it – you just need to open your mind and dedicate yourself to learning enough.

Learning a new skill every year will be the best confidence booster you’ve ever had. You will be surprised, as I was, by what you are capable of. After the first year, I promise that you will be addicted to the resulting confidence you have.

For example, I didn’t have a lot of experience with guns or hunting. My father does it in retirement, my fiancée goes every year, but I had never explored it.

Last year (year three of my Experience Currency accumulation), I made getting my gun and hunting licence my annual currency deposit. I took a night course to accommodate my full-time job, dedicated the time to study and passed by the end of the summer.

I never imagined the satisfaction I would get from being competent around firearms. The course gave me an entirely new perspective on conservationism, gun safety and the extensive research and tracking that goes into hunting regulations.

I met some incredible people while taking the course and discovered I have an affinity for gun handling with 100 per cent on the hands-on portion of the exam.

It felt amazing.

Is there a course or certification you’ve been wanting to take but keep putting it off for fear not passing?

Sign up for it as soon as you are done reading this. A year from now, when you have completed it, you will thank yourself.

Over the past three years, I have taken and completed more certifications and courses than some people do in their entire life.

It has ranged from my getting my motorcycle licence to joining and actively participating in community groups such as Rotary, to completing educational programs in the financial field of study.

As a result, I am more confident now than I have ever been. I can talk to a variety of people and always have experiences in common. I have challenged my brain to new ways of thinking and developed new physical skills.

Obtaining this Experience Currency is something you can start today. Ditch the New Year's resolutions and start an account for experiences.

My favourite quote is from Karen Lamb: “A year from now, you will wish you had started today.” 

Share this with your loved ones and grow together. You will be amazed at the results.


Haters gonna hate

Part 2 of 4: creating confidence

This was the hardest lesson I learned on my journey to discovering confidence.

People who make fun of you, dislike you, or are mean to you, will do that to everyone. It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.

In part 1 of my column on Creating Confidence, I wrote about how smiling can make you appear and feel more confident immediately.

The hardest part is, however, to keep smiling when people try to dim your light.

There are people who prey on the vulnerability of others. Their only criterion for targets are the people willing to stand out. The haters, or bullies, go after people who are just starting to learn how to stand out.

They look enviously at those who are brave enough to step into the spot light of life. They attempt to pull the aspiring stars back to the shadows in which they reside – the dark places of self-pity and blame. 

More advanced haters will go after those dancing in the centre of the spotlight. They are skilled at identifying the passions of others because, they believe, someone at the highest point has the farthest to fall.

They stand in the shadows with their stage hook and wait for the moment to reach forward and grab their target in the hopes of pulling them out of the light.

Why do haters do it?  Because they lack the emotional intelligence. To these people, everyone must lose because they felt they have lost in some form.

They also do it for attention. The haters of the world are looking for an emotional response from you – to see that they have affected you in some way.

Confidence means standing on the stage and owning your spotlight, even when the haters try to pull you off.

A message for the stars who have haters lurking in the shadows:

  • Understand that you control their power over you.
  • You have the choice to not respond in anger or out-bursts.
  • You have the power to be un-affected by their choice of negativity.
  • You can choose to shine on and keep dancing in the spotlight.

More importantly, you can choose to understand that, at some point, those haters likely experienced something that made them act as they do. Perhaps it was a broken family, hard childhood, or current stress.

Choose to send them thoughts of healing instead of the fuel they are looking for to justify their pain.

A message for the haters:

Stop. Before you make that snide remark; before you write that rude comment; before you go out of your way to make someone feel bad: Stop.

Ask yourself why you are doing this. Why are you focusing so much attention on strangers? Why are you choosing to allow negative thoughts to fill your day?

Spend time in self reflection and stop putting up a barrier to the love in the world.

Haters gonna hate

To be confident is to understand that some people will not like it. Own your light and your dance.

This is your stage, and no one can take that from you unless you let them.

Keep smiling and keep dancing.   

More Mindful Communications articles

About the Author

Like most people, Christy has taken many paths. On the officially documented life list, she is a certified yoga teacher, an advanced open water diver, a financial adviser with a financial broker’s licence, a Harley rider and owner, an author, a community advocate.

She has been trained in coaching, negotiations and communication studies. She competed at a provincial level in competitive swimming and now has a passion for overall fitness.

On the un-documented list, Christy’s diverse experience is both positive and full of pot holes. She is the founder and CEO of a start-up company that never made it past the start-up phase. She has enough tattoos to classify as a walking adult colouring book. 

She has gone through all the identity phases at different times in her life: hippy, gothic, classy professional, biker... and is now a unique blend of them all. She a spiritual junkie and is addicted to adrenalin, learning and travel.

The bottom line: She is full of love and lessons with a hope that those who read this and connect with her will benefit from what she learned and be inspired to reach for the limitless possibilities of life.

Connect with her at:[email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories