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This post is inspired by that omniscient individual *insert sarcastic face* who concluded that I am a failure, for going ahead to get inked because “Is that what my mates are doing at 29”.

I mean, isn’t this evident considering that a colleague from back in school was in Kaduna, getting introduced to his in-laws the same day I got inked?

Different” in modern society is a word used with duality (both good and bad) and this was a recurring theme of my existence. Right from the circumstances that surrounded my birth. Conceived on the first sexual encounter between a good woman and a coward-who-fled-his-responsibilities-only-to-be-adopted-and-cared-for, by a father like none other, whose names are my first inking (on my back) as a tribute to the way he had my back till his death (He was vehemently against tattoos).

Time for school came and I was still different. Attaining academic excellence with little or no efforts (I used to read novels and comics right before exams and still ace the exams). Because of this, school became boring and so I found excitement in literature first, then music.

My being different is not a function of being superior in any way because despite the exceptional aptitude I possessed in the area of cerebral activities, I was clumsy and rough to the point where I made the ‘sorry state’ segment of my high school newsletter, Prensa Latina (I went on to become the editor in my senior year).

Failed out of college (by my antecedent) because I didn’t find Civil Engineering exciting enough to care (thankfully I discovered what I wanted to do with my life in my finals). I began to develop myself in my chosen career path and in the process, met Bayo Omisore who is the biggest career influence in my life, after books!

Since then, I have been committed to pursuing excellence in my chosen career by sacrificing comfort at the altar of on-the-job learning, from some of the best content-media minds this side of the planet. The ability was undeniable as I ended up heading departments in all of the establishments I worked for, before quitting paid employ to embark on the next phase of my career.

But I digress…

Body arts is not a nouvelle concept to me as I got my first piercing at 16. I was always going to get inked but not without the right message considering the permanence of tattoos. Going on a soul searching holiday right after quitting my job, I finally realized the most important life lessons for me, as shaped by the various occurrences in my life and these are what my tattoos represent.

Samuel Olushola” is the biggest influence of my life. A father like no other. “Hope” (the O in the word is replaced by a candle flame) in my opinion should be one of the characteristics of a living being so, keep the flame of hope alive; hope for a better tomorrow. Life’s journey has afforded me the opportunity to encounter all sorts of humans and in the process, I have learnt to live in “love” (with the O replaced by a heart) with everyone around me and finally, “Grace so Amazing” which is the theme of my life’s story.

For once, I have gone against my parent’s wish by getting inked (if I didn’t oblige their wish to see me study Civil Engineering, I definitely would have been an honors’ student studying PR & Advertising, Marketing or any of the other disciplines that interest me) but I am unapologetic about this because all I have done is to take the most important lessons they taught me, added my own reality and perspective thereby becoming the man I am today; my own man.

My own man’ is the guy that sees disappointments and setbacks as redirection. A man fearless enough to quit my comfort zone to pursue my dreams. A man who does not expect to be gifted anything in life but who is ready to labor and sacrifice for whatever he wants. Most importantly, a man crazy enough to dream big and is in the process of launching a Content Solution Agency that already has a paying client in an indigenous Quick Serve Restaurant chain.

If these are of less consequence than the stereo-type attached to people with body art, then I put on the badge proudly for yet again, ‘going against the grain’ because where religion has failed me, I have found the meaning of life in living - Something I didn’t do for the most part of 2014 (thanks to a myriad of circumstances).

So my dear friend, feel free to judge me and I assure you, your judgement won’t be wrong since it is a function of your perspective, the same way the concept of good and bad, is relative.

I remain unapologetic for owning my own reality, and not adopting yours.

P.S: I hope whilst you are busy judging, you are living and not just existing.

Written by Damy Layode

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