This past summer I did something I never thought I would do. I got a tattoo. I love my husband's tattoos but I've always been scared it would hurt too badly! For me, emotional pain: eh, big deal, but physical pain: I'm a total wuss. If you've visited my blog for any length of time or made the effort to read the teeny, tiny writing in my journal posts, it'll probably come as no surprise to hear that I've struggled with severe depression and anxiety since my childhood. There have been some terrible, dark periods in my life, but for the most part it is something that has always been there and, I've assumed, always would be. But--without going into any unnecessary details--nothing could have prepared me for the depths of despair the last 2 1/2 years would bring me.
I know I still have a long way to go, but I've been working extremely hard the last 5 months to get my head above water, and I am doing better. I feel hopeful again and that's something I thought I might have lost forever. So I started thinking that what I needed was a kind of memorial--something easier to carry than a pile of stones--to all that we've been through and to the hard-won lessons we've learned along the way. An outward symbol of an inward change. Written on my body as a reminder to never forget and never give up.
When I told my husband John my idea that we get matching tattoos, he was all for it. But I knew I'd better book an appointment before I could lose my nerve--and I almost did! Once a date was set, though, it turned out not to be the pain I was most scared of but the forever change (always, it's the change). So I reminded myself the scars were already there, I'd just be walking around with them on the outside of my body from now on.
Of course, now that it's done (it barely hurt a bit and took all of 20 minutes) I'm already planning my next tattoo! I've learned the hard way that there are times when pain can be good. It's a reminder that you're still alive. And that there are things worth living--and fighting--for.