Do you ever feel that certain people were put in your life at the right moment?
It happened to me recently, Naila contacted me and told me of a tattoo project she wanted to do with one of her friends. They wanted kidneys! Undoubtedly, not the request that you get every day! In fact Naila is going to give one of her kidneys to Manuela. Accordingly they both wanted a tattoo to commemorate. Manuela has been battling an auto immunitary illness that has caused her kidneys to fail. Furthermore, Naila told me that she just couldn’t stand by and watch her friend die if there was something she could do about it. Above all this story of generosity, of saving a life, the ultimate gest of love; made me look at my own shortcomings. For that reason it was really the story I needed in my life at this very moment.
The Ultimate Gift
Subsequently, I asked myself if I was capable of such an act of kindness. However, I was shocked by my own selfishness, because I don’t believe that I could make that sacrifice for anyone, not even family. Previously, I had just finished reading Waking Up, it’s about changing life patterns and in my case I know now that I need start doing volunteer work. Accordingly, I’m looking for ways to open up and heal my heart. When heart is broken we tend to want to close it for business. The book suggested four things to do: awareness, speaking the truth, (understanding that people are clumsy and unskilled at times in social situations), no gossip, and do volunteer work (the author does hospice). Indeed, I may not be able to give someone a kidney, but there are other things I could do. In fact, I’m thinking about doing art with patients at a mental institution, or helping the elderly. Along with my pondering, I wondered how Manuela goes about accepting the love and sacrifice of someone else. I asked her about it, she told me it was difficult. I wondered if I would be able to accept this kind of deep love from someone? It made me think about how I would feel, what would go through my head, what would scare me, if I was in this situation.
This is the tattoo I did for Manuela, it reads Hello and has Naila’s name in Arab.
This is the tattoo I did for Naila, it reads Goodbye and had Manuela’s name in Russian.
Love and compassion are good vibrations, the more we put out there the more we will get back. Equally important I think we need to be able to recognize and receive love and compassion too.
To sum up, the ideas that interest me and keep me passionate about tattooing is being involved in people’s lives at these moments, hearing their stories. Also having the chance to tell my story and hopefully help someone too.
Thanks Sunny for your kind words, your great artwork and the consideration you have for our story. I hope this will inspire people not to fear to reach out for help, and give help to those in need, regardless of how close we are to them. Love for the others makes us stronger. -Naila
Your words have touched me enormously, thank you for giving your heart in your work on the two of us. Big thanks for the hours with you at your shop, it is true, that there are meetings or moments in life, that change something inside you. -Manuela