Scars and reminders

I noticed this morning, the claw marks on my arm from my disintegration 6 months ago are almost completely faded away. And I realized with a pang, I’m almost sad to see them go.

Over the years, I have accumulated a multitude of marks, scars and the like. They are internal and external, intentional and involuntary, beautiful and ugly. And I cherish them all. Everything has a story, each mark holds some kind of meaning for me and each one represents some kind of triumph or tragedy, all lessons learned, whether it be a reminder to watch your hand when closing the car door or a vestige of 200+ pounds of weight loss.

I have gotten 3 tattoos in the past 15 years. Each one signifies a turning point in my life, a moment marked, an acknowledgement of some tiny revelation about who I am. When I was 18 or 19, I had an image of a rose, wrapped around a dagger on my left… chest area. A reminder to protect my heart, that passion is often accompanied with pain.

A few years later, on my right leg, another rose, in full bloom with a large butterfly perched on top. I was in college, coming out of my cocoon and beginning to bloom. This was also when I began to emerge as a mother. I still had a long way to go at that point, caring for Princess Punk was still far beyond my capabilities then. But it was the beginning; I was venturing out into the world and finding that life could be beautiful.

My last is also my favorite. It was custom and it cost way more than I had the budget for at that time. I was still in my 20’s, finishing my BA, figuring out where to go next. I had been through a hellish year, one of my worst. I had been hospitalized and was finally diagnosed as bipolar. Princess Punk was living with my parents and I was trying to grow up a little bit. I’d started to leave behind some of the immaturity that had plagued me. I’d finally realized that drinking and hanging out and smoking pot were not going to get me anywhere and the people I had chosen to associate with were not my friends, that sperm donor and his family did not need to be a part of our lives and The Princess needed a real mom, especially since she didn’t actually have a dad. I was working out some confusion about my own sexuality and trying to figure out what I really wanted in life and love. I had found my good and my bad, my ups and downs, my yin and yang. And while I still hadn’t balanced anything by any means, I had finally recognized that both sides were an integral part of who I was.

I’ve been through a lot in the past few decades. I’m happy now. I love my family, I love my job, I’m happy with my life in general. Obviously I have shit to deal with, as does everyone else in the world, but having these mementos of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come can be extremely grounding.

I’ve been pondering, for a while now, one more tattoo…


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