Hi there girls, boys and all who identify as 'those who can read!' (Minor explicit language to follow.)
I have recently (and by that, I mean: today) added a little flourish to this vessel I inhabit and I would love to share my feelings as to why. Now, know this: I do not stand upon this soap box to justify or defend why I am the way I am, or why I make particular choices for my own life. I do this because I would like to demonstrate that people may not be quite how you perceive them.
But allow me to begin.
First and foremost: The Tattoos
Nutrition Republic Robbie's Chop Shop
The Rose of Robbie's Chop Shop
I have written about RCS once before. It is a Barber's Shop on King William Road in Hyde Park, Adelaide. It is a Men's Only establishment, with the spirit of nurturing masculinity through freedom of speech, expression and gettin' yo' hair did!
I see this as a place for men, of all ages, to be as free as their hearts desire. For some, it may just be a place to get a rockin' hair cut and their beard sculpted (seriously. It's a freaking art!) But for others, it is a sanctuary. A place where they can escape their everyday life. The culture of The Chop Shop is that every man, whether a returning patron or a brand-spanking-new customer, is treated like a friend. They've created an atmosphere of acceptance, camaraderie and fidelity.
Yes, I completely understand that this is a business started by a man for the benefit of men. I even understand that I am not a man. Don't worry! I really haven't missed this fact! The reason I wave the RCS flag is because I support this concept and would love to see (or possibly be part of) something similar for women. A space for women to learn what femininity means to them. What it is to be, not only a woman, but what kind of woman they want to become. To understand themselves completely, build relationships with like-minded ladies and experience the strength of expressing themselves with conviction! Speaking, in whichever medium the individual is most fluent, with clarity, certainty and love. To know that life isn't an uphill battle against the Male Race and to embrace the gift of life that they have been granted.
Feminism has become a filthy word nowadays. Many women jump on the Band Wagon of Hatred, Intolerance, Defensiveness and Ego. But all they are doing is hiding behind a veil of self-loathing. If you, regardless of gender, find great resistance in directing one happy thought towards a particular kind of person, then the fault is with you. Not with anyone else. I know these words may anger some people, and if you are one of them, check in with that! Are you angry at men? Women? Asians? Homosexuals? People who don't indicate when they change lanes? Discover where that feeling comes from because it is blocking your evolution as a human being.
But I digress.
Robbie's Chop Shop reminds me that the primal meaning, history and essence of what it is to be a Woman, is being lost in a world divided by labels. I chose to place this logo in the middle of a red rose because I love roses. Everything about them embodies the true feminine nature. Each petal is supported by her sisters and together they bloom with such exquisite, delicate beauty. The scent of a rose warms me from the inside and the flavour melts my heart. (P.S. I don't sit on my couch, mungin' on a bouquet of roses like a Blue Meanie. But rose tea, chocolate (Pana Chocolate specifically) or Turkish Delight? These are the proverbial BOMB!) By placing a symbol of masculinity inside one of femininity, I am hoping to convey that one cannot exist without the other. They are in synchronised equilibrium. Yin and Yang.
This is my dream for people everywhere.
Ah! My blessed home away from home.
This is the café at which I work. Also located on King William Road (about to open at Bowden, as well), this is so much more than just a place to get coffee. Yes, we offer organic coffee that freaking rocks the socks off of avid Tea-Drinkers (seriously. It was a rare occasion for me to drink coffee before I started working here. Now! I'm up to about one a fortnight! I know, right! Slow down, Nicky! You'll hurt yourself!) and all our food is made with real, wholesome ingredients to nourish you from your guts to your mind to your heart to your soul.
Nutrition Republic, for me, is a beacon of unconditional love. We strive to provide true hospitality to all those who enter. As soon as I walk through the door each day, I feel like I have just come home to the place where I am, not only accepted, but nurtured to become anything I want to be. Each staff member, even as we grow, is my family. We support one another and only ever want to see each other succeed. We are open to learning and growing, to bettering ourselves as people, so that we can share this generous light with others in turn.
Ilija and Nicole Sumracki are the founders of the Nutrition Republic movement. Their vision, focus and unyielding determination is nothing short of remarkable. I am in complete awe of who they are, what they stand for and how fucking hard they work each and every day of the week to achieve their goals.
Our logo is the flower of life that is made up of coffee cup stains. Wicked idea, hey?! The flower of life (in a nutshell) represents the interconnected nature of everything in the universe. We are all linked, intertwined and part of one another. This is why I question the intolerance and hatred of others because they are only directing that negativity back at themselves. Send out thoughts of appreciation, love and gratitude, and you will attract all that your soul yearns for. What you send out in the circle, will return to you stronger. And because all our circles are connected, you get to share all those goodies with those around you.
So, don't share bad juju, please.
I chose to place these symbols of creativity, loyalty, family, compassion and unity on both calves. My legs are the pillars of strength that keep me upright and standing firm. I now have physical reminders of my core values and I know, when I move forward, I step on a firm foundation of integrity, authenticity and truth.
I love my legs and I am so thankful that I have two that work incredibly well! For sure! Have you ever truly appreciated the fact that not everyone can walk? And that you get to? Amazing! And if you can't, do you have some other mode of transport? A walking stick, crutches, a wheelchair, something that aids your movement from one place to another? Because there are those out there who don't even have that! I can seriously keep at this for a long time, so I'll stop and get back to my point: I have legs and now they have been infused with awesomeness.
Of course! Even the artist was considered in all this.
Emma Vasquez, of Wolf and Wren Tattoo Collective on Payneham Road, is utterly amazing. In her early twenties, she inks like she was born with a tattoo gun tightly clenched in her infant fist. Informative, creative and highly professional. Three hours flew by like it was a fun day out!
I also selected Emma because of her gender. To be true. Please consider what you have just read above. I am not being sexist. I am currently discovering and cultivating my own femininity, and having a female artist being part of this experience, was just another constituent to fortify its meaning.
This being said: The collection of individuals in this studio were just fantastic. All completely welcoming, hospitable and genuinely interested in the people around them. I feel so unbelievably grateful that I got to experience this in Adelaide!
All you need is (g)love.
If you spent this time to get to know me, I thank you. Like I said in the beginning (in an introduction far, far away), I don't offer these words to justify my actions. I merely offer insight to the possibility that people aren't the labels you attach to them. Hell, they aren't even the labels they attach to themselves! Tattoos are an obvious and outward expression of what a person has on the inside. Keeping our beliefs and values contained within, doesn't make them any less permanent. But by using our bodies as a canvas, we become a walking collage of artistic language. A voice the eyes receive and the heart interprets.
Open your heart and your mind will follow.