Pain patterns

I got inked in 2010
Three hours with the needle dangerously close to my ears
I tried to distract myself as my eyes welled up with tears

When we were younger it seemed like pain was involuntary.

Vaccinations and school bullies. Exams and puberty.
I was burnt, bruised and attacked by a dog. The scars are worn proudly and the horrors are now my favourite anecdotes
These incidents were innocent. Unintentional and accidental.

As we grow older, somehow, pain becomes voluntary.

Botox, liposuction and laser treatments.
Peel-off masks and piercings. Diets and high heels.
Hair which is ruthlessly straightened
Hearts which are recklessly broken
Facebook updates from shiny people on fancy holidays when in fact their life is a mess
The pressure of living a lie, the pretense, but to who do we confess?

Why do we sign-up for these? What happened to wiser with age? Are we getting sagacious or more supportive of pain?

Despite the agony previously endured, we forget.
Two tattoos and two years later I thought I was ready for a tattoo triumph
I thought I knew the drill but still…
Nothing prepares you for pain. It will hurt. Every time.

We accept pain. When I started my session I had to bite my lips and clench my fists
But after a while, ignoring my artist’s merciless style I was oddly okay.
We control. We cope.

Later I met my friends for a drink. Though I worried about the crowded bar and my exposed back
It turned out to be a fun night as I was fenced by my friends
We seek our safe place and are blessed with people who protect us
No one comes near, till we’re safe to go out again without fear.

With time, the burning gave way to a dull ache. Then it was reduced to a nagging discomfort
Finally it stopped hurting. Eventually it was erased from my mind.

Before life turns into a bore it sets new hurdles, failures, obstacles and more
So it begins, grit your teeth and bear
God knows we all have our share
As the adage says, no pain no gain
The punishment and the reward
The mermaid reminds me they’re the same

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