City of Growth

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Chicago is hands down my favorite city in the United States. I say United States simply because I have not traveled abroad yet (keyword: yet). Despite growing up near Philly, I only went into the city for concerts and sporting events, so when I moved to Chicago for art school, I experienced culture shock. The trains, busses, noise, scents, people, taxis, big buildings – they all were very much overwhelming to me. Even though it was a huge growth period for me, I fell in love with Chicago.

The city of Chicago will always be known as the city of growth to me. It is the first place I went without family or friends. It is where I learned to heal myself and gained a lot of clarity about my truth. I experienced many growth periods there and I am grateful for all of them.

I’m currently in a big growth period. My wife and I are about to leave New Jersey and head to the outskirts of Chicago. Knowing that we will be in the midwest very soon stimulates various experiences from my time there. I will never forget the time I ascended the subway and made my way to ground level, looking up at all the buildings. I felt incredibly alive. I met so many awesome people at Columbia College and later on at InVision. My experiences in Chicago have truly shaped the man I am today.

I miss the energy of Chicago. I miss the pace of life there. I miss the abundance of opportunity. I miss the sound of the trains and I miss walking out to the lake. Chicago will always hold a special place in my heart and I am excited to be see the city again very soon.

It is always interesting to return to a place you have been before. It is never quite the same because you know you have changed. I expect things will not feel the same way I did when I was last in Chicago. I do, however, anticipate more growth. I look forward to growing our brand and kicking ass. As much as I love this city, this visit is well, just a visit. When it starts to get cold, we will cary on into the unknown.

Find Your Freedom,
Andrew

6.21.18 | NJ

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Anarchy, My Face Tattoo

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A few years ago I was living in Chicago. It was a time in my life when paying for tattoos were more important than paying my bills. I recall watching a Mitch Lucker Interview. He was the former vocalist of a metal band called Suicide Silence. Unfortunately, he is no longer alive due to a motorcycle accident in 2012. Anyway, I remember noticing that he got a new tattoo, a face tattoo. It was a small symbol that represented strength. I liked it. I liked the way it looked and I liked the meaning of it. It was in that moment I decided I wanted a face tattoo. The big question – what was I going to get?

Once I figured out what tattoo I wanted, it was time to find a tattoo shop that would do a face tattoo. Luckily I found a shop and an artist in my neighborhood that would do it. The tattoo didn’t hurt much nor did it take a long time. The only thing that was weird was the vibration of the tattoo gun on my face. After he completed the tattoo, he pulled out a mirror and showed me it. I loved it. There was no going back, my face would be forever changed.

I remember seeing an interview of Travis Barker, the drummer of Blink 182. He was speaking on his tattoos and mentioned that part of the reason he got them was to make sure he stayed true to himself and didn’t end up behind a desk. I think that is another reason I got my face tattoo. I didn’t want to end up in a corporate job. If you happen to work in the corporate world, there is nothing wrong with that. It just isn’t for me. Anyway, the funny thing was that my tattoo did not affect me keeping or getting a job.

I worked as a dog walker when I got the tattoo. I remember when my boss saw it. He didn’t say anything, but his facial expression was more than enough. It didn’t get me fired though and when I left that job, my tattoo didn’t give me a problem finding new jobs. I worked a seasonal job at the YMCA of the Rockies. They are a Christian organization. I still got the job. When my wife and I started our dog walking business, we never had an issue getting clients. Actually, we had a few people use our service because I had tattoos and because of the name of our business, “Dogs, Cats & Rock n Roll.” Does that mean I could still get a job anywhere? I doubt it and that is fine with me, but since I have had the tattoo – it hasn’t prevented me from making money, but it has changed the way people see me.

Although I have not had issues gaining employment or attracting clients, the amount of judgment I receive certainly increased. Some people thought it was cool, some people didn’t care, some thought it was stupid and some were scared because of it. Most people don’t say anything, but it is really easy for me to hear and see the judgment forming in their mind. I’m not a fan of judgment, but it’s not making me run to the nearest tattoo removal place. I think the two biggest questions people have asked me or wanted to ask are “Why a face tattoo?” The other question – “Why an anarchy symbol?” I got it on my face because that is where I wanted it. No I wasn’t drunk, no I am not in a gang, no I am not mentally unstable and no I have not been to prison. I’m just not afraid to express myself. Well, I do experience fear, but I choose to overcome it. The meaning of my face tattoo is this: to destroy all that is false, so I can replace it with my truth. It is an internal revolution. It has nothing to do with anything outside of myself. It is all about living my truth and following my dreams. 

To be honest, I plan on getting a lot more tattoos. I want to be covered. No I don’t have any plans for getting more on my face, but I would like to be mostly covered from my neck down. I love the experience of getting tattoos and I love the spirit of Rock n Roll. I have an affinity for freedom. This is my body and this is my life. I love being different and expressing myself. Spending my life worrying about what others think, well, I don’t have time for that. I also don’t take things too seriously, life is not perfect. I am here to enjoy the ride.

Find Your Freedom,

Andrew

5.10.18

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