So I got a tattoo…

Cathedral Tattoo, Salt Lake City, UT

Cathedral Tattoo, Salt Lake City, UT

(I gave a modified version of this post as a 4-minute flash talk at the Automattic Grand Meetup.)

I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of tattoos, but I’m also a…cautious person. Read: I overthink everything.

I asked myself things like, “Won’t it hurt? Am I the kind of person who can pull this look off? Do I really want to permanently scar my body for the rest of my life? How do I decide on one thing when it’s so irreversible?”

And the big one: “What if I don’t like it?”

So I scared myself out of doing anything (it’s one of my super powers), and put the thought aside.


And then my dad passed away.

It got me thinking. Our bodies are marked in irreversible ways all the time, through scars and age. No one is immune to change. Suddenly, the thought of a tattoo didn’t seem so overwhelming when viewed as a mark of growth.

I decided I wanted to honor my dad and acknowledge the ways I’ve changed and grown this year.

Tattoo design

I chose the script “Amor fati”, which is a Latin phrase that translates roughly to “love of fate.” It’s about taking the good with the bad, and accepting that suffering and loss are equally as important to one’s existence as joy. In the words of Friedrich Nietzsche:

“My formula for human greatness is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not in the future, not in the past, not for all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it—all idealism is mendacity in the face of what is necessary—but love it.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

My dad was left-handed, so the tattoo is on my left wrist, facing inward as a message to myself. I worked a star into the design, because Dad loved astronomy and astrology.

Yes, it hurt, but not that bad. Thanks to Tammie for the photo!

Yes, it hurt, but not that bad. Thanks to Tammie for the photo!

“Amor Fati” also happens to be the name of an X-Files episode, making it a subtle nod to one of my favorite things. It’s serendipitous that this particular episode includes a quote that fits my situation almost perfectly.

“There was one thing that remained the same. You were my friend, and you told me the truth. Even when the world was falling apart, you were my constant…my touchstone.” — Fox Mulder

This mark is a new constant; a reminder to live and cherish life’s ups and downs; to accept what comes my way with grace and courage, even when they are difficult or challenging.

The final product

The final product.

So thank you, Dad, for inspiring this gift to myself, and for the painful-yet-necessary reminder that life is too short to waste on what-ifs.

Dad and me

Automattic Grand Meetup, Park City, UT

Theme Wranglers squad

Theme Wranglers squad with their dorky lead

Something magical happens when this company gets together. It reminds me of summer camp; you come away from it having changed, but it’s difficult to describe the experience to others. Suffice it to say, I work with some wonderfully smart, talented, and fun people.

Most of all, I love that I can be myself at Automattic. I’ve thrived over the last three years, thanks to an environment in which I feel safe to take risks and tackle challenges, knowing I’m supported by my team and my lead.

I was sad to leave, but I do so with many new ideas and forged connections. It felt like a week with friends, particularly the time spent with my team. My brain is full, my body is exhausted, but part of me has been rejuvenated. I’m ready to see what the next year has in store.

So many changes!

Fall seems to be a time of change. This whole year has been transformative, but there are lots of new things happening at Casa de Moore right now.

A couple weeks ago, Tim left his job at Automattic to become a stay-at-home parent, writer, and freelancer.

We’ve talked about this for a long time, so it’s hard to believe it’s finally come to fruition. When we originally moved here, the idea was to reduce our expenses and save money, with the end goal of living comfortably on one income.

It goes beyond our budget, though. Tim has wanted to be a writer for as long as I’ve known him. I’m sure it was one of the first things we talked about during the get-to-know-you phase of our relationship, fifteen years ago.

It’s an adjustment, but a necessary one. We’re already seeing the short-term positives to having someone on full-time house- and kid-wrangling duty, and the long-term benefits make the loss of income more than worth it. It helps that my job is secure and still fun and engaging.

Speaking of my job and big changes, I recently started a new lead role at work. Prior to this, I led a “squad” of about eight people; now that’s almost doubled, and with it, my responsibilities. I’m lucky to have a great team and a solid support system in my leads, but it’s going to take a bit for me to settle into the new role.

And finally, Gwen started pre-kindergarten this week, which is mind-boggling and exciting and scary and sad. This will be the first time we have the house to ourselves on the weekdays to work, the first time she’ll be away from us for a few hours at a time, and her first time in a structured learning environment.

She’ll be fine, but I’m not sure I am. :)