Some things are easy to lie about: a resume, history, past events, who said what.

Some things are impossible to lie about. How you dance, or juggle, or play music – an expressive display of skill inevitably tells a truthful story.

It’s a story of years – commitment, dedication, focus. It shows how broadly you see, and how deeply, whether you pay attention to detail. Skill requires humility, inspiration, an incessant drive to improve, never being satisfied; being sensitive to people around you, incorporating feedback, stepping past your ego. Subtle motion, every thought and feeling expressed consciously or unconsciously, tells a deeper story of character, if one knows how to listen.

Anyone can do a dance move poorly. It says nothing of how long you’ve danced, or what you care about, or who you are. But a move executed flawlessly speaks volumes. There is no way to get there other than through a remarkable story of personal strength and resilience.

Sometimes, I forget why I do what I do, I forget who I am, and how I got to where I am. It gets lost in the noise of everyday life, gossip, plans that don’t work out.

Then I look at myself, and how I do what I do, and I’m reminded why I started on the path I’m on. I’m reminded of how low I started, and what it took to make progress. The struggles I went through to learn to dance, to fix my body, perfect a foreign language, move to a foreign country, master the skills I needed to succeed in my career. I’m reminded of how vulnerable, alone, and alive I felt – the moment I challenged myself to learn music and guitar.

It was not an easy time in my life, and through the trials, I committed to making something out of the time I have. To living with purpose, and doing my best, in every moment.

Through the lows of life, that sustained dedication leaves an undying reminder, something that no one can take away. Hundreds, thousands of hours of focused practice imprint something deeper than what lies on the surface – soul tattoos – invisible, yet ever-present. Unattainable by any other means, not available for sale, can’t be stolen, no way to cheat; a personal journey, a private possession.

For me, those tattoos help remember truths deeper than any doubts I have of myself, or any stories imposed on me. They remind of the resolve with which I started on my path; they remind me of the only path I found worth it to walk at all. A path of being true to myself, never holding back, giving everything I have, always challenging myself to go beyond what seems possible, and not caring for failure.

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