Well I did it.  I ticked off one of the things on my list for 2013.  Peter and I visited Chapel Tattoo in late January and got ourselves some ink work.  This is my first tattoo that's pretty much visible all the time.  The only problem is, it's given me the taste for more.  Oh well, we'll see where this leads.

I had been fond of a line from Shakespeare's Hamlet and have been planning this tattoo for a few years now.  'To thine own self be true'.  I've thought of it as a good reminder to always be myself, and perhaps more importantly, to always back my own judgement. It's easy to be swayed by other opinions or more powerful voices.  But I guess the joy of getting older is that you listen to yourself a lot more, and trust your gut instinct.

Interestingly it's made me think about other people, and how I respond to them.  I've recently finished reading the second Women of Letters book 'Sincerely'.  I found myself skipping anything that sounded more like a story, rather than those entries discussing a feeling or experience.  To explain further, some people wrote as a character rather than themselves.  Perhaps it was just in contrast to the other letters, but these just didn't seem as interesting.  Although gloriously, the Men of Letters sessions gave us Shaun Mcauliffe's hilarious entry, I noticed I gravitated to the honest and heartfelt more.  I wept into my pillow reading Clementine Ford's letter to her dead mother.  It was a raw, beautiful, human and understanding letter about a complex relationship.  If you get the chance, please read it.

People have often commented that they are surprised at what I write about in my blog.  I sometimes forget that someone else may actually read it.  It's a good place for me to think through what is happening in my life and in the greater society that surrounds me.  When I started this blog in 2008 I wasn't sure what to write about, but one day I sucked up the guts and wrote about my insecurities.  Some dear friends responded that they felt just the same as me.  It gave me courage to tackle other issues, and then quite a while down the track I got brave and shared it via facebook and twitter.  Again, friends have been supportive and sometimes shared their own thoughts on what I'd written about.  I guess I'm trying to say that people respond to honesty.

I was talking recently with friends who have kept diaries.  I was always too slack and only ended up keeping notes on where I'd been or gigs I went to.  But these friends have poured their hearts out to pages of a notebook for years.  We laughed as they confided that it all seemed like whining if they dared glance back at what they'd written in years gone by. But if you can't spill your guts in a diary, where can you?  I also have friends who post stuff online, and then periodically delete all traces.  I find this odd, but then again I think I might be a frustrated archivist.  I can understand why, in the same way that looking back at an old diary is cringe-worthy.

But I think people should be easier on themselves.  We're all supposed to evolve, develop, change - which means that the embarrassing crap becomes another version of ourselves.  Someone we were on the way to becoming who we are now.  The comforting thing is we all have those moments where we wish we'd made a difference decision, not been so self obsessed, thought a little harder or reacted differently to a situation.  As humans, we're just not great 100% of the time.  But maybe if we're lucky, we begin to listen to ourselves and find a voice we are happy with.  An honest and open voice.  Being true.


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