Warning – may be triggering.
It’s been a while since my last post. I’ve found myself very busy managing full time work, part time study, exercise, gardening and socialising!! Never thought I would start a post with that statement.
Last week I did something exciting and very unlike me. I got a tattoo on my inner left wrist. It’s a sunflower and I think it looks beautiful. Some friends and family are horrified and think I have lost my mind (again!) and keep reminding me I have it for the rest of my life. Really? I had never thought of that!! Unfortunately, I can’t tell them the full reasons for getting it done and what it represents to me. They only know a small part of a big story so their confusion is somewhat justified.
Many of you reading this, know a little more of my story so I hope you don’t mind if I share the significance with you. Of note, I am not recommending this as a solution for everyone. It is very much something I have done for myself.
Yellow is my favourite colour which I’ve blogged about before: Yellow It brings to mind happiness, summer, warmth and life. I love Daffodils. When they break through the earth you know that winter is fading and longer days, warmth and light are on the way (although not always in the UK!!). For me though, it has always been the Sunflower that steals the show. Such a huge, strong flower coming from such a tiny seed. They grow so tall and stretch up daily towards the sun. A long sturdy stem sprouting leaves much in the same way that I imagine Jack’s beanstalk. Eventually, the flower appears, face towards the sun and full of its own brilliance. The depth of the yellow fills you with warmth and you can’t look at it without smiling.
It seems that last year Sunflowers were everywhere…including the hospital I was staying in. At the time I thought it ironic to have such a happy flower in a place full of people struggling to find any light in their lives. Some days it felt they were mocking me. Other days, they reminded me of where I was trying to get to. Looking back with my ‘new’ mind I understand completely why they were there and am eternally grateful for their presence.
As an aside, the humble Sunflower Seed is also classed as a Superfood, contributing to numerous health benefits. Beautiful to look at and healthy too!!
In the past one of my coping mechanisms for dealing with uncomfortable emotions has been to self-harm. Traditionally, this had always been done with no visible signs but last year it changed and as a result I have a number of scars on my left arm. I’m not ashamed of them and I don’t hide them. They are part of me and remind me of where I have been and how far I have come. For some reason it was always important to me that when I harmed, I could see the wounds and the. Somehow, the best place became my left arm.
Following lots of therapy, I have a number of safer, and, let’s face it, more effective ways to manage emotions. However, I also needed to think of what to do at times that I wasn’t feeling strong and felt the urge to resort to my old ways. The tattoo is in itself a scar but is created as a work of art in a controlled environment. It is on my left inner wrist so is somewhat hidden but also accessible to me at all times.
Each time I look at my Sunflower ‘scar’ I am reminded of my journey and how much I have learnt. It reminds me that I am stronger than I think. Each time I glance at it through the day I am reminded to pause, breathe and be mindful. IF I feel the need to self-harm moving forward, I am hoping that I can use ii as a point of focus so that I can pause and remember.
I know that it will always be with me. That’s kind of the point. If I was able to remove it easily, I would get rid of it as soon as my mood became low. It needs to be permanent because it tells my story. It is part of me. It wasn’t a rash decision…as I hope you have seen. It’s a scar that I chose to have when I was feeling at my best. It is beautiful and provides a focus for me on my path for me. It’s not a reminder that I have been ill. It’s a reminder that I am here.