So…I got a tattoo. My parents are pissed. (Sorry Mom). I’ve never seen myself as someone who would get a tattoo, not because I have anything against them- I actually really like them. I guess I just never had anything that I really wanted/needed on my body forever. That or I felt like I don’t fit the “stereotype” of someone allowed to get a tattoo. But guess what? Screw stereotypes. I’m done letting stereotypes and society control my life. ;)

Anyway, for those of you who know me- Vida is my dog. Now before you go wondering why I would “need” my dogs name on my foot for the rest of my life, let me explain. This tattoo to me is more than my dogs name, more than “life” in Spanish and more than ink on my skin. Since I started “recovering” (if that is what you want to call it, I’d rather call it “changing my mindset”) I’ve thought about getting this tattoo. For me it’s a reminder to live my life in the best way everyday, and also (if we’re being honest) to keep myself accountable. I know what it’s like to float through life with no clue what your purpose is and forget how to connect with anything except distractions and obsessions. That to me is not life. That’s a really sad, compulsive way to exist. It is so hard to even notice your disconnect when you are deep into it. It almost becomes a new way of life that you forget everything else. And now that I know what I’ve been missing, I don’t want to ever go back to feeling that. I know that for me, seeing other people totally change their mindsets and lives for the better made it seem possible.

So, yes. This tattoo is a reminder to always “live”. Live when I’m happy, sad, mad, bored, lonely, fulfilled, just live. Through all of it. I know we all say “life is short”, but have you really thought about that? It’s freaking short. I want to remind myself to feel everyday, no matter what the feeling, good or bad, to the fullest extent. I got to get the tattoo in Texas (where I’m originally from) with my cousin and the whole experience was so therapeutic and exciting. It’s just something I felt like I had to do.

And on that note, I’d be lying if I said my dog wasn’t any part of this. I do love her (Vida) and she is quite possibly my best furry friend. I spent a few months alone with her this past spring/summer when I would say I was spiraling down to my worst. It seems strange, but looking at her, so calm and full of energy and life no matter what was happening, was… so. eye-opening. Seriously, next time you’re freaking out about food, weight, work, life in general- notice your pet (or someone else’s) and how they act. They don’t care if you’re “skinny”, “muscular”, “curvy”, they don’t care if your friends are mad at you or if you just got fired from your job. They love you unconditionally every single day because that’s all they know how to do. So this is my vow, to live my life a little more each day like my pup.  Don’t lose that to arbitrary things that will always change. Embrace every moment for what it is. It’s a beautiful life, beautiful Vida. (…I’m melodramatic, and SO cheesy...I know, it’s fine :))

Shelbye Schlange