In May or so of 2017, I was talking to my daughter who lived 3000 miles away. Let's get a tatt together! My suggestion was met with an astounding lack of enthusiasm, deafening silence, and then… nervous laugh. I knew I had her…
July 5th of 2017 was my birthday. My family was visiting so my daughter and I could celebrate our birthdays together. They are only 7 days apart and we spend them together as often as we can. Sarah and I celebrated by getting mother/daughter tattoos. I let her choose the design because she was not having any of what I was suggesting.
A Story of My Family
Sarah chose a heart made of roses. She got hers on her left arm and I got mine on my right so that when I was walking and guiding my visually impaired daughter, our hearts would be together. The 4 hearts represent our family. Both Lovey, me, my daughter and my son and my daughter, son in law and 2 grandsons. The roses had special meaning to me because my husband's absolute pride and joy was a mini pink rose bush. He had such a knack for surprising me. We had lots of plants in the house, and plants and flowers outside. Lovey was good about humoring me and helping me with them but I always suspected that he only enjoyed them because I did. But the rose bush was special. Delicate pink mini roses with tiny dark pink dots caught his attention and he fussed and loved on that plant like a puppy. Genuine joy and satisfaction. My family is small but mighty. They are my treasures. They are my heart.
A Story of Survival
A month later, I got a second tattoo. It was a design I had been contemplating for a long time. It's a goddess, the letter B, a compass, the word wanderer and it's a bit off kilter. This tattoo is about love, loss, and living.
The goddess is to remind me that I am stronger than I know. And regardless of what I am going through, other people are going through worse. The goddess reminds me to take my responsibilities seriously, as I have an obligation to be honest, kind, gracious, grateful, strong, loving and generous. Anything less, and I do not honor my husbands life or what he contributed to mine. Anything less, and I do not honor myself or my family.
The letter B is for Boundless. It reminds me that the only limitations I have are of my own making. The limits I place on myself by not believing in the possibilities can cripple me, but only if I allow them to. I can do and be whatever I choose. By remembering the goddess and all she imbues, I have no limits. I am boundless.
The compass guides me and reminds me to keep my eyes open, and always know where I'm going. I will not lose my way, even when in uncharted waters if I am living authentically, gratefully and generously. The compass reminds me to allow my fears to propel me, rather than paralyze me.
Wanderer… Not all those who wander are lost. Reminding me to be open to new adventures, ever watchful for new opportunities, and to live the life I choose, where ever that may lead me.
Finally, the boundless, wandering goddess is off kilter. Just a bit. This is to remind me, that despite our best efforts, despite our wishes, demands, dreams… Life does not always go the way we hope. We don't always understand the universe or it's infinite wisdom. We certainly do not always agree. But if I honor my goddess, my boundless universe, my moral and spiritual compass, and my wandering spirit… I will eventually be led to living life on my own terms. Living the life I choose. Living life as my best self, and living life as one who continues to learn and grow. I am of no use if I am not living life gratefully. But when I am striving to live life with grace, generosity and love, I will always have something to share with those who need it. What better way to live, than to live a life of love?
A Story of Rebirth, Renewal and Redemption
On August 31, 2018 I got my third tattoo. It's a mermaid. She's wrapped around my heart, and urging on a tiny turtle. The turtle represents life and the difficulties of first starting out on a new journey. The mermaid, the siren of the sea, has the look of peace and contentment on her face. She protects my heart and the turtle giving both a chance to grow and move forward, despite the dangers of a world unknown.
The mermaid is inspired by the image one would see on the front of a pirate ship. A bit vintage, a bit surreal, a bit complicated. She reminds me to remember my life lessons of the past, to keep things in my daily life in perspective, and to pay attention and live with my eyes open. She reminds me to live in the moment, seize opportunities, and be mindful of how my actions affect my world and the people around me. The mermaid reminds me to be strong, protective, gentle, curious and fearless; To remember that life is sacred. She reminds me that life is precious and she represents the magic that life can be and that starting over can be an opportunity of golden consequence. Rebirth - new beginnings. Renewal - holding on to the valuable lessons while making way for new experiences. Redemption - a cleaning of the slate; the opportunity to begin again and live life on purpose.
So, my family, survival, and learning to live again. That's my story.