I get a lot of comments on my tattoos. Sometimes they’re positive, sometimes negative. You get used to it after some time, and the explanations can become jaded. But a nice woman came in to get a room, and asked me what this tattoo was all about, because it looked cool.
I don’t know what possessed me, but I decided to give her the actual meaning behind it.
I asked if she was familiar with YouTube, to which she said she was. I told her there was a man, named JackSepticEye, who does a lot of charity work, who makes people laugh, who publicly fights depression, and maintains a message known as PMA.
“What is PMA?” She asks. Her questions are genuine.
“Positive Mental Attitude.” I explain, “As a person who suffers from a mental disorder on a daily basis, I got this tattoo to show my support for him, his movement, but also a reminder to myself when things get bad.”
She’s fallen silent. I look up at her, having been busy looking down at the computer screen checking her in. Had I gone too far?
She breathes what I can only describe as a sigh of relief and says “I’m going to have to tell my husband to look him up. He’s bipolar, and he could use a bit of positivity in his life like that.” I looked at her, and we had an unspoken understanding. Mental illness is hard on everyone. It’s hard for the person dealing with it, and it’s hard for those we love. I set my professionalism aside, and told her she was awesome.
I’ve had people walk out of my life, cast me aside, because they “couldn’t handle” my “crazy”. Indeed, I’ve destroyed friendships with my “crazy”. To have her standing in front of me, and tell me of her husband’s condition not because she was ashamed, or because she hated him, but because she saw someone who understood from both sides how stressful and difficult it could be… I told her she was awesome, and thanked her for being a good person.
A man was sitting in my lobby at the time, and overheard everything. He’d needed a place to stop to change his daughter’s diaper. As soon as the guest left, he approached the counter and handed me $20. I was shocked and said “Sir, you don’t have to do that.” He shook his head, waved his hand, and said “Thank you for letting us stop. Keep up that positive mental attitude.” Then he walked out as I thanked him.
THAT’S the power of Positive Mental Attitude. That’s the TRUE POWER OF PMA.