My Tattoo Changed My Life

Coincidence. Happens all the time, right? How many times have two co-workers crossed paths in the supermarket and said, “What a coincidence!” when they bumped into each other? Or, has the song that was stuck in your head all day ever been the one playing on the radio when you start your car at 5pm?

Sure, these things happen everyday, but are these events true coincidences?

Google defines coincidence as “a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection.” I think the key word in this definition is remarkable. Looking back at the examples above, it’s safe to say that while those events are not necessarily expected, they are also not very remarkable. Perhaps, we can classify them as mini-coincidences.

But what if those events somehow became remarkable…?

Heaven's Got a Plan For You

What if the office “friend” is actually someone you’re interested in? You spend all day sending out thoughts that the two of you will somehow be alone together, perhaps near the coffee machine, but instead you end up face-to-face in the fresh produce section. Perfect! It’s Saturday, you’re not at work, and you’re having a really good hair day…

The possibility for a happy ending just went up a few points.

And that song from earlier – it’s not stuck in your head because it’s the latest, pop melody playing on every station; it’s stuck there because it reminds you of something. Let’s say you haven’t spoken to your best friend in months. You wake up thinking of her, hoping for some guidance on what to do. Should I call? You spend the whole day contemplating while humming that song the two of you used to play everyday that one summer.

It was your song.

The workday ends, you start up your car, and the radio turns on. Suddenly, the sign you need comes blaring through your speakers – that song the two of you used to play everyday that one summer.

You listen to the song in its entirety, and then you pick up the phone.

Now we’re talking. Coincidences, right?! Not so fast. While the events became more remarkable, they also gained what Google called a causal connection. In situation #1, you sent out thoughts of being alone with your co-worker and then you were alone with him. In situation #2, you asked for guidance on whether or not to call and you received a sign.

My Tattoo Changed My Life

[photo cred]

I recently read an amazing book by Pam Grout entitled E-Squared. A #1 New York Times Bestseller, the book included “nine do-it-yourself energy experiments that prove your thoughts create your reality.” Grout (2013) explained that our energy has the power to create vibrations, and these vibrations attract similar vibrations. Furthermore, our minds have the power to focus on what we want, create an intention, and, in turn, open the door for that “event or circumstance” to make its way to us.

I realize this idea may be hard to wrap your head around, but I believe there is some truth to it. As I closed the book after reading it in just four hours, I realized why I identified with its content so much:

I’ve actually experienced my own amazing coincidence.

It was earlier this year, before reading the book, and it was pretty remarkable. My questions now are:

  1. Was my coincidence actually the result of my thoughts and intentions?
  2. Did my tattoo really change my life?

In order to best understand my story, I should probably start at the beginning.

My Tattoo Changed My Life

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved to perform. Whether I was prancing around in my mother’s high heels while singing Dolly Parton or convincing my siblings and cousins to act in the play I had written, I was constantly putting on a show. So, as an adolescent, I did the only normal thing – I was in shows. I performed. I studied acting at a private conservatory. In high school, I was a part of the chorus, Show Choir, and Dance Team – in addition to having a role in our High School Musical all four years. Ah, memories!

After graduation, I moved to Long Island and started my first semester at Hofstra University. Initially, one of the reasons I chose this school was because it’s “30 miles from Manhattan.” The city was always bright and shiny to me – not to mention a haven for performance art. A few semesters in, I made the decision to major in Broadcast Journalism. Naturally, I was drawn to this field because it allowed me to do two things that I love: be in front of a camera and write. I studied with amazing professors, developed my written and oral communication skills, and interned at MSNBC.

My Tattoo Changed My Life

I had such wonderful experiences and enjoyed college immensely. But by the end of all that excitement, I wasn’t quite ready to just “go for it” and start the path to that bright and shiny place. The truth is, I probably only made it to the city a handful of times those four years, mostly for birthday celebrations. Somehow, a new mindset was starting to creep in…

And by mindset, I mean relationship. With a boy.

Yes, by the time I graduated college, I was in a serious relationship. We were very happy and because of this, I began to view my hopes and dreams in a different way. For a time, they changed. I suppose I was thinking about my hypothetical future family and future life when I made the decision to attend graduate school right after college and obtain a Master’s degree in Childhood Education. And I was thinking about job opportunity and stability when shortly after teaching and working for two years, I went back to school to work on a second Master’s in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Whew!

My Tattoo Changed My Life

Somewhere between starting this new degree and dealing with a troubled economy and a horrible housing market, my relationship fell apart. As sad as it was to part ways, I kept moving forward. I moved into my own apartment in Manhattan and continued teaching and attending grad school in the Bronx.

My Tattoo Changed My Life

In the beginning, everything was awesome. Work was just a subway ride away, my friends and eventually a new beau were close by, and I got to come home to my adorable studio on Second Avenue every night.

My Tattoo Changed My Life

The awesomeness, however, was short lived.

Manhattan and my new life were fun, but something was still missing. After 18 months in the city, I said goodbye to both and returned to my hometown. While I lengthened my commute to work, I lost that steep, monthly rent payment and gained the comfort of being home with my family. I was finally able to start saving some money, and in time, I met someone new. A year went by but, unfortunately, the cycle seemed to repeat. When my third relationship ended, it became clear that change was necessary. I was seeking fulfillment in my relationships so earnestly because deep down I wasn’t receiving it from my own life.

Change came this spring.

In an effort to pull myself out of my funk, I started doing things outside my comfort zone. I was a bartender at a local restaurant. I signed up for an acting class after years of not being on a stage. I even decided to get my first tattoo.

Now, this is the point in the story when my new energy began to affect my reality.

My Tattoo Changed My Life

I made the tattoo appointment in April. Standing with the artist, I presented a design that included the phrase, “Heaven’s got a plan for you,” which are also lyrics from a song that I love. I chose these lyrics because at this point in my life, I was looking for something to point me in a new direction.

Somehow, I knew that those lyrics applied to me.

Fast forward to a few weeks later when, while sitting in my classroom, I was put on the radio and told that after (randomly) participating in a national text-to-win contest, I had won a grand-prize, VIP trip to the iHeartRadio Ultimate Pool Party in Miami. WHOA. I thought, If this isn’t part of the “plan,” then I don’t know what is. Needless to say, I kept my appointment and got the tattoo a few days later.

The vacation itself took place at the end of June. The many prizes were some of the most amazing things that could ever happen to a person – but it was more than a grand-prize trip to me. For the majority of the weekend, I worked with a camera crew that documented my entire experience.

My Tattoo Changed My Life

From private jets to shopping sprees to jet-ski excursions to meetings with music artists and actors, I spent several hours on-camera narrating each part and providing an exclusive look into the magic of it all. Once the cameras started rolling, I immediately felt comfortable and energetic.

My Tattoo Changed My Life

While I sincerely enjoyed every moment of my career as a teacher, I never felt as alive as I did while filming this event. The whole experience confirmed to me that it was time to walk down a different path.

My Tattoo Changed My Life

After Miami, highlights of my trip appeared on national television during a CW-TV broadcast of the Pool Party. Since then, I’ve made some big changes. I started my blog, learned so many new things, and began pursuing new career opportunities.

The reality that was created by me saying, “Heaven’s got a plan for me!” may very well be what we call coincidence. Fate. Chance. For the purposes of my journey, and to answer my previous questions, I like to think it was a result of my positive thoughts and intention to find a new path.

In other words, my tattoo changed my life.

Now, I realize the prize I won isn’t something that happens everyday. It is, however, something that happened just when I needed it. To this day, I am so grateful to all those involved and thankful for the lesson the experience taught me:

It’s never too late to go for what you love and try different things. That’s what this life is all about.

In the words of Pam Grout:

The universe is limitless, abundant, and strangely accommodating. (2013, p. 141)

The recurring phrase in my blog is “Shake Things Up,” and I hope that after reading this post you understand why. I’m not sure what the end result will be, but I know my optimism will take me far.

References

Grout, P. (2013). E-Squared. United States: Hay House.

2015 Update

Since writing this piece, I continued to do things outside my comfort zone. I moved across the country (Road Trip!), explored new opportunities, and met so many incredible people. I currently work for a social media advertising agency in Southern California. Life evolves, and it’s all part of the plan.

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44 comments

  1. Reblogged this on Notes by Natalie and commented:

    Here’s a little Throwback on this lovely Thursday. Originally posted in November, I’ve recently spent some time editing and re-formatting this piece. It was inspired by both an amazing book and the fact that my tattoo really did change my life. Enjoy!

  2. I read your post back in November, and I just read it again today. I’m also totally convinced that positive thoughts and optimism have an impact on the things we have in life. We are what we create.
    Thank you so much for the inspiration Natalie, I really needed this today 🙂

    1. This is so true, Yael…and thank you for your comment! I first read it last night while at work, and it totally made me smile. I think I needed a little inspiration yesterday, too 🙂

  3. An inspiring story – thanks for sharing. It made me think of the quote: ‘if we are open along the way to realizing our visions and dreams, we also become the puzzle pieces for the visions and dreams of others.’ Keep on being open, finding inspiration and in turn inspiring all of us.

    1. Thank you, Roberto. I love that quote, too. I’m glad my story made you think of it – I have definitely been inspired by the stories of others myself. Have a great weekend!

  4. Part of me really wishes I knew you better in high school…although, I was probably in the pool just as much as you were on the stage 🙂 You are a truly gifted writer and I can only imagine how good you are on camera.

    Breaking away from a “comfortable” place (aka steady job/ lifestyle) to pursue something you love takes a lot of guts––and I commend you for it. The bigger the risk, the greater the reward. But, also the harder you fall. Most people aren’t willing to take risks because they are paralyzed by fear. So cheers to you for empowering yourself to change your life.

    I find this post to be quite inspirational today, so I’m glad I read it. It’s interesting how we can find peace and resolve from others’ experiences. I didn’t date in high school, college, or the better half of my 20’s. I blamed the early years on sports––although, it was more likely a result of my awkwardness than anything.

    But now, at age 30, I find current relationship dictating too many of my behaviors and choices. And this would be okay if the relationship was strong and we were both making sacrifices to better our lives as a whole, but that isn’t the reality.

    Reading this post has helped me re-empower myself.

    “When my third relationship ended, it became clear that change was necessary. I was seeking fulfillment in my relationships so earnestly because deep down I wasn’t receiving it from my own life.”

    Thank you for those words. Change is necessary. Keep inspiring!

    1. Wow, Ash…thank you! Such incredibly kind words coming from such an incredibly talented woman herself! I have no doubt that you will continue to make brave and necessary choices…and I can only hope the same for myself. It’s been an interesting path, but totally worth it. I am very hopeful that we will have more chances to hang once I get my butt out there…which should be very soon 🙂

  5. wow .how so very much fun ,,,,that musta been fer u ,,,2 Kewl Fer Skewl really ,,way kewl 🙂 a big congrats to U! da’ lucky i heart radio winner an it yes changed evrything huh! very kewl for U … 🙂

    1. an what a kewl memorable story… inspirational! an well, u’ll have many more adventourous journeys now as a result i am sure :0 keep on keepin on 🙂 . Q

      1. Thank you so much for stopping by! You’re right…it was a completely fun and memorable experience – and something that taught me a lot. Here’s to the adventures ahead!

  6. Hi Natalie! Congratulations on your big step! I love your blog. We met at that bar you worked at. You were so lovely to chat with. After The Barn was going to call you this week. You inspired us to make changes, but when I found you here I didn’t realize YOU made the change. Good luck to you. Sue and Bob.

    1. Hi, guys!! Wow, thank you so much for that sweet message. It’s definitely been an adventure…I’m enjoying the change. I wish you the best of luck with the store. I see your Instagrams…you got some good stuff going on! Keep it up! Take care, Natalie.

      1. Nice to meet you too Natalie. I’m looking forward to all your posts and I’m hoping you like even just a few of mine. Never be afraid to pop by and say hi ?

  7. Hello very cool blog!! Guy .. Excellent .. Amazing ..

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