Thursday, November 5, 2009

Today my friend KnoxvillePixie is guest posting for me. This is my first ever guest post. How exciting! We tossed around a few ideas for the subject. I was game for whatever she wanted to write about. What she came up with really hit home for me. I've been there and come out the other side. We are both survivors! I'm proud of you KP. Let's get tat's together next time you're in town.


I got my first tattoo at age 16. Let me rephrase, I gave myself my first tattoo at age 16. Using a needle, some thread, and some Indian ink, I indelibly marked my hand with the heart I would stare at and like, and sometimes dislike for the rest of my life. It’s not perfect; there are little dots that run outside the lines. But it’s mine. It’s something I frequently get asked about and every time I do I’m brought back to that place in time. A time in my life when things were very different than they are today; a time when I said “yes” even when I meant “NO”; a time when I was starved for the affections and companionship of a man, and in doing so, made some very poor choices as to who I allowed that to be.

I got my next tattoo at age 18. I had made plans with my then-boyfriend to go and get them together. We had been together for two years. Two tumultuous years in which he mentally, emotionally, and physically abused me, humiliated me, and genuinely made me hate myself for over 700 days. The night before our appointments with the tattoo artist, I broke it off with him. I found the last iota of strength inside of me to finally decide that enough was enough and I couldn’t live that way anymore. I told him I’d still go with him to the appointment (I really fucking wanted to get that tattoo) and after that I would no longer see him again. We drove in silence to the parlor 30 minutes away from my college campus into a seedy little town. When we entered the parlor, we met our artist. He was an adorable, charming, smiley little soul who instantly put me at ease. I selected my tat with him (yes, from the wall, but come on I was 18!) and we got down to work. When the ex stepped outside to smoke a cigarette, the artist stopped working on my back. He turned to me, looked me in the eye, and asked me, “What the hell are YOU doing with THAT guy?” It was the question many people had asked me over the last two years, but this time, I smiled, knowing that this was the last time I’d ever be asked that question. All the sleepless nights, all the accusations, all the “where have you been’s” and “who have you been with’s “, the knock-down-drag-out fights, the excuses, the lying to myself and others about our relationship was finally over. I took a deep breath and let the artist continue my piece until he was finished. I stood up, blood rushing to my head, as he handed me a mirror, and showed me the work of art he had created: a butterfly.

I got my next tattoo at age 29. It was just over a year after my oldest daughter was born; A year full of the highest highs and lowest lows; A year in which I fell so in love with that little girl it physically hurt to be away from her; A year in which we moved into the home of our dreams; A year in which I suffered the most debilitating depression and began taking anti-depressant medication for the first time in my life just so I could get out of bed and not spend the day sobbing uncontrollably; A year in which I came home from work one night to find my husband in bed, unable to speak properly. In his attempts to communicate with me, the words just came out jumbled, garbled, as the Doctor would later describe it as “word salad”. That night, with my then 6-month-old daughter sleeping soundly in my crib, I honestly thought I was going to lose my husband. We spent three days in the hospital, looking for answers from the medical community as to what was going on with him. There were no answers to give, the Professionals were stumped. Three excruciating days, and several baffled Doctors later, my husband woke up in his hospital bed and spoke to me again. To this day we still have no answers as to what happened to him during those three days or mentally “where he went”. But after a multitude of testing, we were comforted by the Neurologists and Doctors that assured us he was a healthy 30-year-old man.

I got my tattoo a couple of months later of my daughter’s birth flowers, poppies, and a star for my dear husband. I had the tattooist incorporate the butterfly into it, so the overall impression is of one lower-back piece. It is now a representation of major struggles and triumphs in my life that remind me daily of the strength of which I am capable.

I plan on getting another tattoo sometime in the near future, again something that can be woven into my current piece to represent my youngest daughter, but I don’t know what, or when that will be. I think it will probably just come to me, when the time is right…



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Wow..I don't even know what to say to this story other than it is completely heartfelt. How many of us have been there or in similar situations. From one meaningful tattoo-aholic to another...I wish you the best in life.

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