This week I got my first ever tattoo. I’ve been wanting one for a while, and there are a few I like, but for various reasons I decided to go with this one. I was excited and freaked about getting inked for the first time, so when I got home I tweeted about it. Obviously it’s a quote, and I explained to those who asked that it was a song lyric by @theokatzman: “So smile or die, Cos that’s the whole story.” It’s from a song called Growing, Growing, Gone on an album called Romance Without Finance, which I bought at @DarrenCriss’ ListenUp Boston concert last year. Theo opened for Darren, and having never heard of him before I was blown away. I listen to the album a LOT.
This song and this lyric have always particularly spoken to me; I determined from the lyrics that the song was about a pregnancy loss, and that this line was about the response to that - you just keep going, you have no other choice. As you all know, the last decade has given me my share of challenges: a stillbirth, miscarriages, post-natal depression, changing career and studying while working and having two kids, my nephew suffering a hypoxic brain injury, my mum having renal failure and dying, and my husband coming out as trans* after nearly 20 years together.
To me, this lyric has always spoken of resilience, of that decision point where it’s either “you give up, or you keep going, there are no other options.” More than that, it’s spoken to me of the need to really make the most of what you have, to be grateful and mindful, to find beauty and love in your life, because really that’s it - that’s the whole story.
Last night, I was thinking about the song and I googled the lyrics. Turns out - the ones on my arm aren’t the lyrics Theo wrote or sings! The actual lyric (according to his band camp page) is “so smile old dad.” It’s clearly still about a loss, but I don’t think it’s the same type of loss I always heard it as being. I have no idea who “old dad” is! So I now have a tattoo of lyrics that don’t actually exist!
The thing about this though is that really, I just think it’s kinda hilarious! I mean come on, we’ve all heard of that person getting a tattoo that says the wrong thing, but I actually did it? Are you kidding me?! That’s HYSTERICAL!! And secondly, it means that what is on my arm actually comes from me - it’s clearly what I needed to hear, and it’s what has been so meaningful for me over that last eight months. So I’m going to leave it, and use it to remind me of that point where, when I have to choose, I am choosing life and love and laughter and happiness. I am choosing resilience and family. Cos that’s the whole story.
Reasons why I love Emma (and Theo).