Joey Jello on right
Since my latest tattoo, a person who cares a lot about me mentioned their concern that people would judge me because of my tattoos. Because of who this was, I knew that this concern was real and not a roundabout way of saying that this person was judging me. And I understood the concern because I remember thinking something similar when Joey showed up with the words NEVER BETRAY backwards on his neck – all I could think was that so many people would miss out on knowing my awesome brother because they would write him off as soon as they saw ink on his neck.
But then Joey died, and all these amazing people, many of whom had ink from head to toe and dressed and lived so differently from me, came out of the woodwork it seemed and cared for me and my family as though we were their family. Read the rest of this entry
I’ve been eager to get this new tattoo started ever since returning from my trip to Austin for my Joey Jello Memorial Race. Last night we got it started, and I couldn’t be happier. I had originally thought of getting a phoenix to symbolize my new birth from the ashes, but I saw a sketch similar to this with birds carrying a flying elephant, and it just spoke to me.
So many times through this process of learning to run I have felt like an elephant trying to fly, but I have kept going due to the amazing support of my family and friends as well as the memory of Joey’s life-well-lived. The second shot shows my “free bird,” who has dropped his rope and is moving on. I may not have arrived, but I’m so much stronger than I was last year, and I am learning to fly on my own steam, so I’m letting him go. He will always have a place in my heart, but from here, the journey is mine.
As I sit down to write, my whole being wants to mourn. But I can’t do that. Because I love Joey, and celebrating life was his reason for being. So that’s what I choose to do today – celebrate the life of Joey Jello. For my newer readers, this is the life that inspired me to take charge of mine. Joey Jello is my brother, and I will always love him.
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