Everything, everyone, everywhere, ends.
This particular phrase has been embedded in my mind for the last 15 years. Today, I got these four words tattooed on me forever.
Upon writing this, as I begin to think deeply about why this sentence is, in fact, my ultimate life mantra, a philosophy through which I live my every day… I realise that these forms of reflection are all too familiar to me.
With my other tattoos, the ideals – and the subsequent desires to represent them on my body – always pass in and out of my frame of consciousness. These pictures, these words, these dates, these letters – they come to the forefront of my mind in the week leading up to and week following a tattoo appointment, but they do inevitably fade away. Don’t get me wrong, a glance down at my body at a particular time will allow for sporadic contemplation, but I will move on with my life without deep daily consideration of each tattoo on my skin.
The tattoo I received today, however, is a slightly different matter.
Everything ends. The only single guarantee in the world. Seemingly morbid, perhaps, yet for me – completely and utterly uplifting and enlightening.
My obsession with death began 15 years ago. As a teenager I battled with coming to terms with the fact that this, all of this, this air I feel, these sounds I hear, these faces I touch – WILL one day suddenly and fiercely be gone.
I’ve blogged previously about my relationship with death and its past tendency to ignite my struggle with health anxiety. Today, those anxieties are under control. Now, I rejoice. I praise my short time here. I worship every second that I’m lucky enough to experience and truly do make decisions for each day as if it were my last.
Everything, everyone, everywhere, ends is in fact the tagline to the American TV show Six Feet Under (2001 -2005) that undoubtedly sparked thoughts of mortality in the mind of that teenage self. I watched my boxsets again and again, and still do today. Each episode challenges the viewer to consider their own impermanence and the (often unexpected) inevitable loss of life that we will all experience.
It’s our survival instinct to not contemplate death too deeply as part of everyday consciousness. As a modern-day civilisation, we have settled into rituals when it comes to grief. We quickly box-up our loved ones, we use euphemisms, we have to move on. We taste that sickly fear throughout the grieving periods, that sudden awareness that one day we will all be taken, but we do soon forget it. We fill our lives with whatever we can to feel alive.
I taste that sickly realisation every day. Well, I used to, and I’ve spent the last 15 years working to convert it into a pure sweet sensation – my own sense of fearless ambition. I believe that I now live my life in a particular way because of it. It hasn’t been easy but now that I have this personal philosophy, I’m never letting go.
This person I have become, this awareness of who I am, where I am and where I’m headed, has undoubtedly grown from a life-long ambition to completely absorb these four words, and channel their meaning into every single step I take on this planet.
This is the first tattoo that I will look down at every single day and acknowledge its place within me. Its energy. An energy that already courses through my entire body and now comes to fruition on my palms.
I never want to let go of this tattoo. I never want to let go of everything I currently sense around me. But I know so well that one day – any, sudden day in this beautiful, fleeting lifetime – I will have to.