For the last decade or so, I have dedicated virtually all of my life to a number of different individuals, causes, or organisations. I always placed the needs of others before my own, even when I knew it was bad for me. I was in almost back-to-back long-term relationships, forming strong emotional attachments with people who did not or could not reciprocate care in ways I needed, often through no fault of their own. When people take everything from you, over a period of years, you begin to lose sight of who you are and what is most valuable to you.
I combined the same passion that I had with my personal life with my professional work too. I have always said "Do what you love, as long as you don't hurt anyone." Often, I breached my own life ethos, due to putting myself in positions where I was not in control, ignoring my heart and my instincts. I have always held myself accountable for my actions, and consider failure to be my greatest teacher.
One of my biggest failures this last decade is that I allowed my life to be co-opted by organisations or individuals. Despite knowing this, I ignored all the signs, and allowed both my heart and mind to be abused over and over again - including by myself. My life was not really in my control, until I took it back about half a year ago.
I have been waiting to get this tattoo for about 3 years now. I feel that with the incredible, life-changing events happening around me at the moment, the time is right for this.
The wolf, to me, represents a sign of wisdom. I know that I have made mistakes in my past, and will continue to do so in the future too. Wisdom is acknowledging our limitations, and striving to better understand and learn from them. There is little to be gained from ignorance, but much to be from courage.
The wolf also represents to me loyalty. I am now much more aware of my boundaries, who I trust, and who I consider a friend and what the characteristics of those people are. Already, I am finding the relationships I form with people to be much healthier than anything I had before. It really helps to bring peace of mind when you realise who and what are worthy of your emotional attention, and can exercise compassion towards those who only seek to bring hostility into our lives.
First and foremost though, I have a renewed dedication to be loyal to myself. In the last couple of months, I have cut off drinking alcohol (besides rare occasions), smoking, and have a regular meditation and exercise regime to take better control and care of my body and mind. Also massively cutting down on social media, and how much I care about what random strangers on the internet think. Already, I feel that this is helping to better equip me for the intense challenges life is throwing my way.
I am still taking an extended period of relative solitude while doing this. Taking the time to be deeply introspective of the last years of my life, while investing my renewed energy into new ventures. Maybe some of that 'open science stuff' in the future, who knows.
My wolf represents all of this, and will serve as a constant reminder to trust my own instincts, my heart, and my mind. There are huge issues that we face today as a society, and we owe it to ourselves to be emotionally and intellectually exceptional in dealing with them. First, for ourselves, then for everyone else.
Sending strength, love, compassion, and courage out to all who need and deserve it.