First Post of 2018: Doing Better

OMG? Permanent proof of a temporary sanity? 🙂

Wanted one for my 30th birthday, ok... That was like, a decade ago. Never got one 'til now.

I could never quite bring myself to get one "just because." What if I change my mind? It is apparently incredibly difficult and painful to remove, and over the years I've met not a few people who got tattoos when they were teens or young adults and really, really regretted it because Life then brought changes to taste and opinions.

One young woman who used to work in our area had a simple black "string" around her wrist, and then one day I noticed she had had it removed (she kept other much larger, colourful tattoos on her legs that she appeared happy with, she often wore shorts.)

What's with the string? "I was maybe 16; we were all there, one big group of friends, and everyone was getting something so I really had to. But it's so obvious when I work, everyone can see it, people judge you, you know..." (At which point I'm kinda ?? because the ones on her legs are huge in comparison... maybe she later fell out with the group of friends she got tattooed with, and that's the real reason she doesn't want the string anymore. Regardless, when someone who has multiple large, colourful tattoos tells me removing a little string of a tattoo hurts, I'm going to believe that removing tattoos really hurts 🙂 ) You can still see a shadow after she had it removed. So then it's a scar you wished you didn't go along with, one day 🙁

But I already had a scar and hated it....

My tattoo is actually covering this.

They say there's a moment after the dye is cast - breathe right and you can still change the way the painting looks... Well in this case it was 2.5 hours under the needle, not inclusive of prep time, and a minimum 6 months waiting for the scar to heal before you can tattoo on it, a reminder that Life is more one endurance race after another, rather than an impulse decision... or mistake. The beauty of hope is in second, third, fourth chances, healing, better choices. 

Unlike my C-section scars*, this sudden and unexpected mark on the top of my foot really bothered me - I got it in the most meh way imaginable, trying to get HN on the school bus one morning. (Not... to be taken as a criticism of school buses or classes ok... I believe in how things take time - how much time depending on a child's personality - and reinforcement at home is really, really important. One former dealing room head I had was a mum of a then-10 year old boy who loved tv... and I still remember her complaining she had to give up her tv after a hard day's work when her son was cramming for exams and missed his tv shows...

The seed of an apple is an orchard invisible...

Ever heard that one before? It's an analogy that both intimidates and inspires me, when I apply it to parenting. Parenting, inconveniently, demands consistency. (Produce a headcase, and someday there might be an orchard-full of headcases in this world, and those headcases.... It boggles the mind! 😀 ) It's also incredibly unglamorous, particularly in a place like HK where a lot more people clock long working hours in the office and that is often seen as the more erm, "noble" cause because you can "easily" get a helper (which I find misguided because it's unrealistic to expect a helper who makes minimum wage, particularly one who had to leave her own kids behind to come here and take care of your relatively privileged ones, to effectively "parent" for you when your kid rolls on the floor in a screaming fit), people sometimes look at SAHMs like they are total slugs 😀

Anyway. We happen to live furthest from any of the bus stops and School Bus Run was simply the thing HN had chosen to pick a fight over, for a time. As in, because she is an extreme sports junkee and - Fun Challenge! Let's Mess With Mummy Before Being Away A Few Hours So She'll Remember Me - Wheeeee! That's how I fell one morning, running back and forth up the hill to our block cajoling her on.

I can't see my earrings, but my hands, typing on a keyboard, are a powerful place for reminders....

Would've been Gal 6:4-5, my "life verse," but for the place I was in when I got this 😛

Almost as visible to me was Bus Fight Scar.

"Cubist Tattoo" was off the cashier processing JD's pet food order one day. How long had she had that elaborate, colourful image on her forearm? Ever had to touch it up?

I also ask the opinion of another mum after i notice the dark, neat design on the back of her neck, beautiful in its simplicity:

"You have kids, right? You'll be fine."

Never thought of it that way before, but I know what she means. At some point, after having little kids - chasing them, taking them for stitches, bone-setting, head scans, root canal... you're a lot less squeamish. (Bearing in mind I'm speaking from the perspective of someone who had never been elbow-deep in little kids until having some. They're the ickiest thing in the world, very unlike say, dealerboards and Bloomberg)

Move over, Tattooed Teenaged Alien Fighters From Beverly Hills Yes That Is An Actual Thing... You might be surprised how many mums get piercings or tattoos after they have kids. They just don't tell you until you also get one. You have to be in a good place before your kids can be, and besides pilates or the spa... well Maria Tash probably made a killing when they brought their NY/ LDN staff over to HK (hosted by Lane Crawford) last year.

I've got  friends still waiting for MT to come back. Some happily showed me stuff they got online, to refresh old piercings. Brightens your tired face 😛 Dropping off HN at the (very local) dance studio we sometimes frequent, I pass another mum with a similar-sized daughter - dressed very casually, not a branded item in sight... but with her ears pierced something like the above.

You might think the kids are erm, inspired to get themselves something now (especially the crazy younger one), but you'd be wrong. Rockstar disapproves of open wounds (infection alert!), which they realised is what a real tattoo is, from watching how I was tending it until the skin healed over (takes about a week, similar to when I fell and got the first scar). He's happy I got something done that I love, though - while I didn't need stitches for Bus Fight, I once ended up in A&E from running after him.

As for HN... she would like to change her tattoos and face paintings every day, thank you very much <uppity sniff>.

This is her showing off  her nose, last Christmas - guess who she chose for dress up 🙂

Can't do that with a permanent tattoo. Ends.

ps: Re C-section scars - Barely used the recommended scar cream. I had substantial gift coupons from co-workers and market counterparts back then, and maxed them out with La Mer Serum. I got the idea to use it on my scars because of an article about how the guy who developed it from ocean plant life had been motivated to do substantial research based on extensive facial scarring he sustained when a previous unrelated experiment had blown up in his face.

Sold as a kind of "youth serum" meant for ageing facial skin, it's horribly expensive, and so I would mix it with cheaper lotions. I credit that serum as the reason I have far less scarring from my huge C-sections - no discolouration, no keloid, just a long, light seam that I frankly love the way it is.  

pps: Everyone has already heard about Logan Paul over the new year, right? (LP donned a funny hat and went to make a Youtube in a known suicide site in Japan - one they do NOT like to publicise, for obvious reasons. He and his friends apparently then come across an actual suicide victim's dead body and he starts hamming it up. He then posts it, gets reviled by the internet, and follows up with an apology in which he claims he was trying to raise awareness.

Thing is, it was not just this latest horrendous action - Rockstar found Logan Paul last year through the much less-watched Dwarf Mamba, who had turned his own then-104cm height into a music video, Dwarf Problems. 

Just from that one thing (because we don't watch that much) I did think, "Now there's a guy who's trying to make the most of the hand he was dealt in life.." DM used to have around 1+mio followers, while the 188cm tall, very athletically built LP <resists urge to go on Beauty Is As Beauty Does rant> then had a whopping 18mio followers thereabouts - and if they really were friends like they said in old videos, then - can you imagine growing up with dwarfism around guys like LP who make videos where they strut about an apartment smashing plates everywhere and think that looks cool?? So yeah it was back then that we stopped watching. Not because You Will Turn To A Life Of Crime After Watching Plate Smashing Ah Boy but because... surely you have a bit more than that to be proud of, right....?? (Don't get me started about the idiots who upload pics and videos dangling from high places (particularly RESTRICTED high places) without safeties)

Going for the cheap laugh is so easy, and well, cheap. But more than that, it's horribly desensitising - Watch And Hang Around Enough Of That Ah Boy, And Someday You May Also Think Posting Something So Horrifyingly Insensitive Is Less Than Horrifying. You could throw away what you were blessed with - looks, charm (maybe. I don't find LP charming, but lotsa younger people must've) - on a choice you make and the internet documents unforgivingly.

You should value yourself more than that.

Somewhere in the many articles I skimmed was this one skill that is expected to be extremely useful for kids - the ability to debate. To convince another person, not through untruths but sincere... argument, of your point of view. Presumably LP started off having some of that, given his massive following. And then maybe he got a little.... overconfident. Allowed himself just one little cheap laugh. And another. And another, because people loved him, right? But now he's the guy who made "that" video. It's going to be very, very painful to come back from this, it's a wayyyy bigger "string" to laser off your wrist.

What happened to Logan Paul is a wake up call. We can all do better with our time, what we watch, what we say, what we do. We can write, draw, film, edit, create better. Because we become, we ARE, what we watch, say and do.

Don't run, fly? 😛 (For real - Rockstar's good friend had flying lessons, one recent break. They did however use a plane haha)

Let's make 2018 about Better, dears. Have an awesome year ahead, being awesome you.


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About Aileen

I blog about living and raising my son in Hong Kong - where toddlers have entrance interviews, parents keep test score spreadsheets, private school debentures can trade for more than half a million USD. Raising Rockstar's the most important thing I'll ever do. We show our true colors by the choices we make in bringing up our children. My blog is a message to my toddler son, about what the world and his parents are like today - for when he becomes a teenager and knows everything.
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  • Elle Cheong

    As a YouTuber myself, I was appalled at what LP did, my other friend who is a YouTuber was outraged too. We personally believe that as content creators, we have a responsibility on what we create and share to the world. I’m so glad that Rockstar did not see the video. I know someone on Twitter who had to explain to her 8 year old little brother on what happened in the video when he stumbled upon it. Love your tattoo!

    • Aileen

      Thank you Elle, so glad you mentioned re accountability. I don’t Youtube (or Twitter, anymore) because I didn’t feel I could keep track of it all adequately while handling the kids and freelancing assignments