My soon to be 21-year-old son just got his first tattoo. He's been dreaming of it and planning for it for a couple of years now. He's a musician, like his parents, so he wanted it to be music-related. He's also a self-proclaimed "Peace Punk" a punk rocker who is all about non-violence. (Didn't know there was such a thing, did you?) Picture Kumbaya performed by the Sex Pistols. (FYI: His band, Combat Crisis, are huge in the Philly area. Google them. You'll be amazed how much comes up. My baby, Adam, is the drummer.)
Here's a picture of his new tat: In a couple of weeks, there will be color added, but I think you get the picture. The text? "I will not fight your battles, I will not die on your battlefields," lyrics from the peace-punk band, Anti-Flag.
This got me thinking. What do I stand for as a writer and as a person? I like to believe I stand for peace, honesty, integrity, harmony, charity, and great shoes, but do I really? Do my actions meet up with my tenets? Do I walk the talk? (My shoe collection screams, "Yes!")
As far as my writing goes, I weave greater meanings into my intimate stories: What goes around comes around; treat people how you like to be treated; forgiveness; being human means making mistakes, growing, and moving on. Messages of hope and humanity, peace and love. (Yes, I'll always be a hippie at heart.)
As far as what I stand for in life, I'm all about truth, justice, peace, compassion, family, and letting people live their lives as they see fit. I contribute monthly to my favorite charities and give huge bags of clothing to Goodwill, but I don't go to the soup kitchen or participate in the Race for the Cure (my mom's a breast cancer survivor). I interrupt someone if I hear an off-color joke, but I don't give my time to mentor an underprivileged child. Is being kind, writing checks, and using less electricity and water enough? Are those actions letting the Universe know what I stand for? Are they making a difference in the world?
From this point forward, I'm upping my game. I'll look for opportunities and take them, rather than thinking my plate is full. When I publish this post, I'll find a charity I like and volunteer my time. Writing those words sent shivers up my arms. Why? Because I'm comfortable. Very comfortable. But, you know what? I'm going to break out of my comfort zone in order to make a difference in what I stand for.
So, what about you? What do you stand for? What would you be willing to literally or theoretically tattoo on your arm?