I love what I do. I am an acupuncturist. And have been for 10 years now.
I wasn’t one of those kids that knew what I wanted to do when I was younger. I didn’t even know what acupuncture was until I was in my 20’s.
I left home at aged 19. And never looked back. I did a degree that was completely useless to me. All the jobs I had after that did not require a degree. But it was my ticket out of Wales and The Valleys. Most youngsters either got married or went away to University, or Polytechnic.
At school, I was really good at English, Maths and Art. The teachers kept on trying to encourage me to do subjects that went together more. I resisted that. Stuck to what I was good at.
Then when I left school, I had a mean A level teacher who held up my art work one day announcing to the class,
“This is an example of how not to do it.”
I was mortified and unfortunately, it put me off doing any art for 20 years.
Imagine that… Shelving one of your passions for all that time! It happens.
Looking back, I realise that that teacher had given up on her dreams. The impact, call it whatever you like rippled out.
20 years later, I went on a quest to learn to tattoo after my love of art and passion for the Far East in Thailand was sparked. I trained with an ex Monk in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand, practising most days on pig skin brought from the market. The closest thing to human skin. When I came back to the UK I searched for an apprenticeship in tattooing. A tattooist in South London told me to go away and tattoo myself as much as possible for practice. I didn’t do that!
One visit to an acupuncturist, whilst I was looking to change my career. Was all it took. I was really curious about this strange practice that I hadn’t experience before. I asked the acupuncturist lots of questions. He said it wasn’t easy to learn. That got my curiosity even more. I remember walking back through North London really noticing all the trees an d being really in touch with nature and the elements.
I went on a couple of Open Days at Acupuncture Schools. Susannah Dowie the Principal of the School I eventually went to gave me a treatment on the open day. She was spot on. On point as they say. Ha! It didn’t matter what she said. I knew the school was for me. I was on a complete high that evening. The same feeling I had after doing my first tattoo. Completely EXHILIRATED!
From tattooing to acupuncture. Same or different? It’s similar in that it takes an enormous amount of trust to allow some one to tattoo you, more than to acupuncture needle you.
Both of them are very healing. I know some people use tattoos to mark special occasions like births of their babies or death of their loved ones. Acupuncture is very balancing on an internal level. You can’t see the effect but the person knows how they feel. They always feel better.
I was TOTALLY BLOWN away this year, when I visited Chiang Mai again. We met up with some friends and as we were leaving the restaurant. I said to my partner,
“I would really love to show you the tattoo shop that I used to go to.”
We meandered along the road.
My daughter announced she wanted to get a tuk tuk, one of her favourite activities in Thailand.
My partner hailed one.
I sat in the back looking at snippets of the tuk tuk drivers profile in his side view rear mirror. All the time I’m thinking it can’t be him. The first guy I ever tattooed. But somewhere, all the fibers of my being knew it was him.
Love that. What are the chances? The synchronicity. Serendipity. Wonderful.
I know in lots of ways I have been tremendously fortunate to be able to pursue my dreams and explore different avenues of work.