Tattooed in the center of my chest is an anatomical sacred heart with the word WISDOM written across it. I got this when I was around 21. I was a Christian at the time, I became one in high school. I walked away from that faith not long after I got the tattoo and I haven’t thought about it in years, other than looking at how it’s aged and softened. I also have a tattoo of Jesus whose eyes I later had scratched out and then a friend added pink bunny ears on top of the crown of thorns.
I was angry at God, with the idea of God… I was really angry with Christianity and all religion. I raged against it, in my early twenties and into my thirties. My mind had been locked down with the rules and the sin. Things were either good or bad and my humanity never felt good enough. For whatever reason, I always felt guilty. The idea that anyone who didn’t believe in Christ would go to hell, was such a bitter pill for me.
It was in Huntington Beach, around twenty years ago where I sat alone on the beach and let go of Christianity. I smoked a joint, and looked at the ocean, looked at the waves rolling in, strong and constant. I thought of how long that had been going on, that energy that has been pumping from the beginning of time.
Instead of thinking I knew how that came to be, and who made it, I thought instead about the wonder of it all. There was an entire world hidden away from sight, hidden under an unfathomable sea, where animals as big as buildings lived long lives. I saw the wonder, the magnitude of it all, and I said goodbye to the certainty of Christianity. It was a beautiful moment in my life.
It was just a couple of months ago now, I was being a gloomy cunt, I’d walk into the tattoo shop and change the whole environment, without saying anything, my tension and my mood could poison the well, I’d bring that home as well.
I had an answer to my question: I had come to where I wanted to live, to my own Shangri-La, and I was fucking miserable. One day I’d be great, the next everything would suck.
I walked down to the beach, and went in the water, I dove under the waves and screamed into the abyss. I came up and looked at the shore, looked at the trees reaching towards the sky, looked at the jungle, living, and breathing. “I don’t know what to do,” I said, ” I don’t know who the fuck I’m asking, but I guess I can’t do this on my own, I don’t know what to do… Pacha Mama… God… whatever you are, I need some help, I don’t want to feel like this anymore, I don’t want to be like this.”
Now when I see that faded heart tattooed on my chest, through the hair that is slowly turning white, I can see a pretty constant theme in my life: a search for wisdom and understanding. A search for connection. That’s what it was while sitting in front of the Pacific ocean 18 years ago, and what it was a couple months ago when I dove into it.