Rachel McAdams and I go back a long time…far enough back that she is one of the few Friends that I still speak with from Troy High School. We both have seen each other grow and change and become who we are. Things changed for both of us, where she has moved out of Austin to a small town in Arkansas, I have moved form our little small Btown to Austin. I am glad through all this, Elora and Rachel have both formed a relationship that has deepened through the years, though visits, dinner, long talks and crying together. She was even with us when we got our first tattoos. I am sure if you ask her she will send the video of me crying. I think it was me crying that pushed her in this next move where a tattoo is more than just a image or an act of rebellion but one that embodies your story. So with out any delay Meet Rachel…
I’ve never done a ‘guest post’ on a blog before. I guess I should start with an introduction. My name is Rachel McAdams. (No, not that one, I’m this one.) You’ve probably found this post because you know Russ or Elora… or you just like food and inspiration, two things at which my friends are great. I feel almost bad for posting this with a bunch of Jesus-lovers, since I’m about half-way through a beautiful bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, which is in my opinion, the only way to drink responsibly. (Computer and tattoos are optional.) It’s a good thing he isn’t that kind of Jesus-lover. 🙂 So, sit back, grab a glass and enjoy.
I remember being 14 years old, completely confused as to who I was and who I wanted to be, and the brightest part of my day was singing Caedmon’s Call- Bus Driver with Russ playing the guitar beside me. We were a strange group of misfits back them. I guess in a way, we still art. At least now we are more comfortable with the idea of not ‘fitting in’.
I have a tattoo. It’s big and it’s my life story and the only good reason Russ has granted me access to a few lines of his blog. I guess I should talk about that more. Hmm…
You know, I wrote a crap-ton about this tattoo when I first got it, and it’s interesting to see how the original reasons for subjecting myself to 25 hours of needles still stand strong. We live in these cycles. You think, “Now this, THIS is my defining moment. This is my turning point,” and you change and remold yourself how you think the world needs you to be, or remold yourself to be less like them and more like you. Then, a few days pass and you are on top of the world. A few weeks pass. Then the months and the years, and before you know it, you are saying, “Now this, THIS is my defining moment. This is my turning point.”
It isn’t that we failed that first time through, it’s that life is a cycle, renewed and repeated over and over again. It’s important that we learn from each lesson, and with each defining moment, never lose faith in the remolding. It’s what makes us human and remarkable. We change and evolve and adapt every day. No one is the same person today that they were a year ago.
On my back, is the story of a girl, Belle. Belle wears a mask. The mask is who she is today; it’s part world, part her, part who she should be, part who you want her to be. Along the way, she takes off her mask, and becomes a white tiger. The white tiger is a beauty to behold, but stands out like a sore thumb. The white tiger risks everything that he is everyday just for pure survival, and has no choice but to stand apart from his orange brothers. He’s big and he’s strong, but he’s different. Once he embraces this difference and learns to love himself, he takes a leap of faith, grows wings, and becomes a bald eagle. Bald eagles are the epitome of free. They fly high and take crap from no one. They are majestic and powerful and can rip the flesh from your body after spotting you from more than a mile away. However, the bald eagle starts to fly lower and lower. Before you know it, however gradually, the eagle has lost his wings, and turned back in to a girl with a mask on her face. We’ll call her Belle.
How do we survive the cycle? We continue to make the cycle, that’s how. We recognize that no matter how much we *think* we are a bald eagle, some part of us is always wearing a mask that’s ready to come off. We must keep faith in whatever holds you when the world shuts you out. I’d like to think of myself as a Christian Relativist, and in so thinking, represented four religions and atheism on the top portion of my back. the main one missing is Islam, because I found that it would be disrespectful to tattoo anything Islamic on me, considering how sacrilegious that would be in that religion.
The cross in the middle is based off a compass and the polarizing forces in our universe. It reminds me to stay balanced, and remember where I am and where I’ve been, so I can properly get to wherever it is I’m going. At the bottom is a bunch of rocks reminding me to stand firm in who I am and this cycle that is humankind.
For more about me, go here.
I love Rachel dearly, we have traveled the same journey down different paths about who we are…I know we are still learning about ourselves and discovering our faith everyday, but with both of us what you see is what you get. So be warned if you ask us questions you get our honest opinions. I am glad that she volunteered her time and words and sent such awesome pictures of her art work. Thank you Rachel for making this project so much the better. If you are interested sharing ideas with Rachel give her a follow if you will. @gubeltrut