Every once in a while I’ll be asked to calligraph song lyrics for tattoo clients. Nadya’s story, and the choice behind this song, is so moving. There have been times my yoga teacher has played “To Build a Home” during savasana. And so the image of both me and Nadya, separated by thousands of miles, lying on the floor and listening to the same song (through speakers or in our heads) and processing it through our difference life experience made it all the more special.
Close introspection usually comes when one choses a tattoo, something permanent that will resonate with you all your days. When I first heard the song, To Build A Home by The Cinematic Orchestra, it came drifting into my head as I was laying on the floor in Savasana at a yoga studio. I was moved by this beautifully haunting song and as it lingered in my head for days afterward, I realized I needed a closer listen.
My husband had just been diagnosed with cancer and we were in the depths of hell. As our family learned to cope with this new world, the phrase from this song –“I built a home for you, for me” spoke to me. They seemed to be the words that represented me and my position in our lives. Our home was our cocoon away from the world — and I provided the comfort & stability we needed to weather the storm. In our home lived hope and strength, positivity, love and most importantly, laughter.
In the midst of treatment I would drive and listen to this song with the volume cranked. On the overwhelming days when the hurt was new and raw I would cry, but as time passed, tears turned to reflection and with it a kind of peace. It is a wonderfully poetic view of life. The very fact that we truly did build our home was a just a wonderful coincidence.
Life is not fair, it just is. Things happen and how we react and cope with the events that shape our lives are what make us who we are. Of this I am constantly reminded, when I look down at this beautifully scripted affirmation on my arm. Thank you Patrick Watson for writing these powerful words, and thank you Mara for working with me to transform them into something uniquely me.
Thanks to Nadya for sharing her story, to tattoo artist Jamie “Grazzhopper” Lindsey (Toronto), and to photographer Pete Nema.