What Bob’s Tattoo Symbolizes

personal trainer bob kaczmarczyk

Presenting my new tattoo!

The story, life experiences, and ideas behind it are too long to write about in full here, but I wanted to share a small portion behind it. The skull represents sacrifice, giving of myself, and remembering not only the people who came before me who exemplified those traits, but also lives that have been cut short or prevented from reaching their potential. The broken chain represents breaking away from anything that limits or controls my thoughts and beliefs. The fire wing represents moving beyond and building upon the person I once was. Keep in mind I haven’t mastered these meanings. I am a work in progress.

The image as a whole is something I love artistically, but it is not meant to be a pleasant one. It’s meant to evoke emotions. An image that exposes what’s deep inside me. An open opportunity with others to have uncomfortable, but meaningful face to face discussions. More importantly though, a reminder to myself about what I need to always focus on. Truly being a good person doesn’t just simply mean not doing bad things. You have to act. You have to make the effort to be proud of who you truly are and stand up for others in the face of opposition. I spent so much of my life being scared, letting so many things control who I was, and it only led to sadness, anger, or regret. I no longer allow that to be the case.

I am lucky to have what I consider a simple, good life. I have always been confused and curious though as to why so many are less fortunate. I’ve also come to notice that most people are struggling everyday on the inside, even when they put on their best and appear to be fine. As I have gotten older, personal experiences have given me the chance to look beyond the small view from my suburban picket fence. With doing so, I’ve discovered both absolute horror and overpowering beauty. I constantly wonder about it all, leading to the deep questions we all have, but I never want misguided hopes or misdirected fears to rule my life. History has shamelessly shown time and time again the terrifying effects that can have.

I’ve come to experience a handful of dark moments and sad periods in my life. Moments that made me question everything, changed forever. What I am thankful for though, is the positive and amazing things that grew out of them. Just like a tough workout, it was the only way for me to learn and grow stronger. I don’t know why it seems to have to be this way, but the embryonic state of my human mind and five meager senses can only comprehend so much. I may not ever come to fully grasp why this kind of dichotomy exists in life, but if I can try to live less wasteful, more appreciative, less wanting, free of judging, and making more informed decisions, maybe I can help tilt the scales for everyone in a more positive fashion.

Within the balance of nature, our species creates it’s own discoveries and demons. The famous quote of great power with great responsibility comes to mind. Lack of understanding of the world we’re cast into combined with ignorance of how societies came to this point can cause even the most seemingly innocent of daily decisions to have grave consequences. Sometimes comfort and convenience for some can lead to hardship and suffering for others without even realizing it. At this point in history, it’s easy to say that humanity has spun out of control and all hope is lost. Maybe it is, and maybe everything I write here is idealistic, but I refuse to accept that. I feel we hold the power to reclaim how beautiful life could be for everyone. The evil we’ve created doesn’t necessarily have to always be fought – it can be understood and prevented from reoccurring. This can only happen though when we stop trying to take the easy route desperately fixing the symptoms while we shy away from the hard route where root causes are never even addressed. We need to look deeper. I’ve come to notice that amazing potential hides in what can appear to be tiny, easy to ignore places and people. A simple smile at a stranger one morning can alter the course of history for the better. The question is am I willing to look up and leave my distractions, addictions, and insecurities behind in order to offer that smile?

I got this tattoo for the many times I’ll naturally get complacent. This image is the heavy metal boot kick to my face that wakes me up, reminds me to take a deep breath, and pay more attention. I’ll never have most of the answers I seek when my life is over, but there is something I’ll strive for when I take that final breath: Having enjoyed and respected life to the fullest, truly absorbing every moment, but most importantly – having shared any advantages I have to those without these opportunities. Maybe one day I can be a superhero whose name is forgotten, but whose positive actions ripple on forever through the cosmos. I think there is a sense of humble immortality to that.

In closing, here are some applicable quotes I try to live by, from people with much greater intelligence, experience, and challenges than myself…

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Mahatma Gandhi

“The truth is waiting there for you to find it, but your fears seemed to keep you blinded. The answer isn’t where you think you’d find it – you’re the one who can redefine it. Within your darkest memories lies the answer if you dare to find it. Don’t let hope become a memory.”

‘The Light’ by the band Disturbed

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

Ernest Hemingway

“I’ll tell you the problem with the power that you’re using here: it didn’t require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could and before you even knew what you had you patented it and packaged it and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now you’re selling it. You were so preoccupied with whether or not you could, you didn’t stop to think if you should.”

Dr. Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park

“Inspire someone, walk through the fire for someone. Rebuild the good we have lost with the odds against us.”

‘The Outcast’ by the band Upon A Burning Body

“Live my life like I’ll die tonight, dream like I’ll live forever.”

‘Is There Anybody Out There?’ by the band Machine Head

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

Albert Einstein

“As long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar so high as you otherwise might.”

Marian Anderson

“Do you care to be the layer of the bricks that seal your fate, or would you rather be the architect of what we might create?”

‘Architects’ by the band Rise Against

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

Charles Darwin

“The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow.”

Jim Hightower

“Don’t ever let yourself be a victim. Our culture thrives on victimhood. We love to invoke ‘I can’t’ and make excuses. The truth is we tend to make time and have money for what we think is important. You & I can’t change everyone else, but we sure can change the one looking at us in the mirror. Resolve to do that, and you’ll lead by example and find the world lining up to follow.”

Joel Salatin

“The greatest of all mistakes is to do nothing because you can only do a little. Do what you can.”

Sydney Smith

“The finest gift you can give anyone is encouragement. If everyone received the encouragement they need to grow, the genius in most everyone would blossom and the world would produce abundance beyond the wildest dreams.”

Sidney Madwed

“If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart.”

Arab proverb

“Bigotry and hatred thrive in environments where people are too certain – when they think they know the truth and consider their version of it to be the only valid perspective. Too often we allow our fears to shape our imagination. This prevents genuine possibility from emerging in our lives, and holds us back from taking risks and venturing into the unknown. We should use our imagination to embrace the possibilities that NOT knowing can offer us, and as a result, our lives and our consciousness expand.”

Estelle Frankel

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”
Tony Palermo

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”

Vincent Van Gogh

“You’re just sliding painfully back if you’re not striving forward. Make your stand, burn the bridge to the place where your fear lives. Some live by the limits set upon them, others will commit to the task of destroying them. One flame can light a million.”

‘Own Your World’ by the band Hatebreed

“You must unlearn what you have learned. Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose. You will know the good from the bad when you are calm, at peace, passive. A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack. Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

Master Yoda

“Nothing’s gonna change till I break these chains and I tear down the walls.”

‘Tear Down The Wall’ by the band Art Of Dying

“Between a stimulus and a response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Viktor Frankl

“Metal music confronts what we’d rather ignore. It celebrates what we often deny. It indulges what we fear most, and that’s why metal will always be a culture of outsiders.”

The History of Metal on Palladia