Words & Banter

Either Way, It’s A Perfect Tattoo

Photo taken by Red at Prison Break Tattoos


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I still can't believe that Sawyer actually did it. I thought it'd be something she'd talk about for a while.


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I never had a doubt. Once she mentioned it to me, it was obvious she had thought it through.


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Well, when I got Natasha her first tattoo as her high school graduation gift four years ago, the last thing I ever imagined was that I'd be giving Sawyer the same gift.


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That is because Natasha has "attitude" and an independent streak, so being the first in the family to get a tat was totally in keeping with her personality.


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No kidding! Whereas Sawyer's a hard-working student-athlete that graduated from high school with honors. She's very social, and her friends seem as "clean-cut" as she is. All-in-all, not the type you associate with tattoos.

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You are showing your age. And, stereotyping people. Maybe years ago, only a certain "type" of person got tats – criminals, gang-members, uneducated, rebellious. Now, they have become mainstream, and people who get tats demonstrate many positive traits.


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I know, and I thought I got over my preconceived notions when Natasha got her first tattoo and then started getting more. But it just seems so out-of-character for Sawyer.


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Really? Out of character for someone who is very creative and is working toward a career in the entertainment world? Someone who understands and appreciates the power of storytelling and the meaning of words and imagery? Someone who knows herself well enough to carefully select a tat that has a deep personal meaning?


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Since you put it that way, maybe it's not out-of-character. I guess no more so than you getting a tattoo that matched Natasha's first one and now Sawyer's.


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The one I share with Natasha is meaningful because it was my first tat and we share that. This one is meaningful because Sawyer came up with a very creative way to remedy a "challenge" that we share.


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Remarkably, it was only a few years ago that she told me that she has trouble knowing her left from her right. At first, I thought she was kidding, but then remembered you don't know your right from your left. But when she recently told me she wanted to get two tattoos, an "L" and an "R", to help her remember, I just laughed.


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And, when she told me that the other night, I told her I thought it was brilliant. Although, you clearly were no longer amused.


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That's because I realized she was serious. At one point, she had talked about getting an arrow tattoo as a reminder of her summers at camp, but it was only very recently that she mentioned the "L" and the "R." The idea of a tattoo started as "maybe, one day in the future." But the other night, it became "one day very soon" and yesterday it actually happened!


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It is human nature that you will always think of her as your little girl, but Sawyer is growing up and about to leave for college. This tat is the perfect graduation gift for her as it acknowledges that you trust her decision-making skills.


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I know that intellectually. But since it's something permanent, I just wanted to make sure that she wasn't having second thoughts. And that she understood it could lead to future tattoos since we've seen from Natasha how tattoos can become "addictive".


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Even I have told you that after the first one, I started thinking about getting inked again. However, it never dawned on me I might be "sharing" my second tat with Sawyer. And, at Prison Break, where I got my first one. But, I am thrilled it worked out that way.


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Which makes it even more special for her, too. So, I'm thrilled for both of you. Especially since both of you will finally know your left from your right.

When Red first heard Black talking about the importance of "soft skills," she didn't even know what she was referring to, let alone that they would be important to her life. So, Black explained that it was a term used to describe intangible but essential skills, such as critical thinking and problem-solving, communications, and conflict management.

Red, trying to be sarcastic, then asked if there was such a thing as “hard skills,” Black matter-of-factly told her those are tangible and technical skills such as computer skills.

Of course, Black couldn’t pass up an opportunity for sarcasm and explained that although there’s consensus about the importance of soft skills, there’s debate about what they should be called, with her favorite being the Texas Education Agency (TEA) calling them "21st Century Skills" – although she's old enough to remember they were important in the 20th Century, too.

But would anyone call them “Mom Skills”? Well, Red couldn’t help but remember the time Black told her, “Your job is every bit as demanding as a corporate position, and, in fact, you use many of the same skill sets.”Not something Red could ever have imagined, but it made sense once she better understood what soft skills are and how they are used. But then Black took it a step further,

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Red was your typical straight-A student, getting great grades starting in kindergarten straight through to graduating from college.(Black’s grades were less than stellar, plus she was a discipline problem – some things never change.) And then, excited and proud of herself, Red thought she was done. Black, on the other hand, thinks of education as something that never ends, and much to the chagrin of students, will tell them,

Homework never ends; it just is called “research” when you get older.

Over the last few years, Red has come around to Black’s way of thinking and realizes it’s a mindset. And that education is more than the classes you take in school.

September is when students of all ages are back in school, but it’s also National Literacy Month, which is about so much more than reading and writing. Literacy includes things like Digital Literacy, Financial Literacy, Health Literacy, and even News Literacy. (As the linked Conversation Starters indicate, Red was the “poster child” of a highly educated person who lacked many of these basic literacy skills.)

So, we challenge you to find a topic that interests you or one you could benefit from learning (personally or professionally) and start doing your homework.

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For many of us, Labor Day marks the end of summer (temperatures aside), and as we switch from a summer holiday mindset back to the “real world”, we can’t help but feel overwhelmed.

You don’t need us to tell you how falling back into a work or school routine can be challenging, especially if you’re facing a backlog of tasks and responsibilities. And, if that wasn’t bad enough, the “silly season” is just around the corner. (Red has been seeing Halloween decorations since mid-July, which means Thanksgiving and all the winter holidays aren’t far behind.)

But you don’t need us to tell you why you feel overwhelmed; you need help dealing with being overwhelmed.

When our new website goes live next year, one of the major sections will be THE DAILY HELP, where you’ll find easy-to-implement tools to get your day back on track and feel more in control.

But that doesn’t help you … NOW. So, here are a handful of our favorite posts to help you deal with daily challenges we all face. (Red admits that she picked the ones she felt she needed to reread.)

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