I think I'll make posting on this blog a quarterly event. That seems to be how it's working out anyway.
My last post brought up a lot of memories for me, and not good ones.
That was such a long time ago, yet some days it feels like it occurred only last week.
I went through some very tough times between 2010-2012, and even before that, but those years in particular were horrific.
It got me thinking about how I got through it, and how it changed me.
Some of the hardest things in my life have left scars on me that can't ever be erased.
When we were trying to get pregnant(for 5 years. Five years we tried to get pregnant, then another 7 years after that with the adoption), I had several surgeries. Four to be exact. Even though they were considered "non invasive", for each surgery they had to cut four incisions in my lower abdomen.
Four surgeries X 4 incisions=16 scars.
My stomach is littered with small, round, pinkish-white scars. My insides are also cluttered with small metal clips that look like staples on an x-ray. Dozens of them. I counted 20 the last time I had an x-ray done.
Even though the scars on my stomach are ugly, I like them. They remind me of how much of a fighter I was when we were trying to get pregnant, and how I didn't give up, until our doctor said "No more". He didn't want to see me in so much pain anymore, and knew by that time that becoming pregnant wasn't going to happen. So I went ahead with a hysterectomy, even though I was so young(35), and even though it meant giving up on our chance to have a biological child.
The surgeries left scars.
Those scars are a physical reminder of how resilient I was.
The scars that hurt the most though, are the ones you can't see.
The heartbreak of not being able to have children left scars on my heart. It left a sadness inside of me that never seems to go away completely. Sometimes I think it's gone. It will go away for a long time and I think "Aha! I'm "over" that, I've made peace with it".
Then Mother's Day rolls around, or a friend or co-worker gets pregnant, or adopts yet another child, and BAM. There it is again. Sadness. Thankfully the sadness fades away again eventually, but there are still scars there that leave me occasionally feeling sad, nonetheless.
The anguish I felt around the time that I checked myself into the hospital for depression and suicidal thoughts left scars on my soul. Deep scars. Occasionally I allow myself to go back to that place and feel that darkness. Usually it ends with a panic attack and me having to take deep cleansing breaths to bring myself back to present. I try not to do that too often. But sometimes I allow those scars to come back to the surface, and they hurt. Even still.
You're probably wondering where I'm going with this.
This weekend I did something I have been thinking about doing for a very long time, but haven't had the courage to actually go through with.
This weekend I got a tattoo. My first(and likely only) tattoo.
You're probably wondering WHY? Why do something so permanent?
I guess I wanted a physical manifestation of the scars I feel on the inside to show on my outside.
Does that make any sense at all? I guess it doesn't really matter if it makes sense to you. It makes sense to me.
Ever since my last post I couldn't stop thinking about the semicolon. What it represents. It resonated so deeply with me. I knew that one day I would have a semicolon tattoo.
I didn't know it would be so soon, but sometimes life nudges you in a direction you aren't sure you're ready for, and you follow it.
So this weekend, with my sister and Joe in tow, I went to a tattoo parlor, and got this:
The meaning of the semicolon is in the previous post.
Sparrows represent loyalty and love(some species of sparrows mate for life). So the birds are for Joe and me, and the baby we will never have.
Freedom from the scars I have on the inside.
Maybe someone else with a semicolon tattoo, or who has been thinking about getting a semicolon tattoo will see mine and think "Hey, there's someone who's been in my shoes. There's someone who understands the pain I've felt".
I know that's how I will feel if/when I see someone with one. I'll feel like I'm not alone.
Like I am not the only one on this planet bearing scars, even though some days it felt like it.
I know not everyone will understand my decision to have a tattoo, or even like it, and that's o.k. To each his(or her) own.
It's my body. My journey. My story to tell.
Yes, it's in a very visible place, and yes, I know its *permanent*. Forever. I get that. I thought long and hard before I decided to get it. I didn't go into it lightly
I needed it to be where it is. I need to be able to see it. Every day.
I need to be reminded that even though I am scarred, inside and out, I am resilient. I made it. I survived a whole bunch of really bad shit and I'm still here to talk about it.
I am still standing.
As painful as they were to get, those scars made me who I am today.
My scars have made me more compassionate. To have more empathy. To be more open minded, and to judge others less.
We are all scarred on the inside, in one way or another.
I think it's the scars that make us beautiful.
If you want to read a blog that protrays depression far more eloquently than I ever could, you should follow The Bloggess. She writes posts about mental illness that take my breath away, they are so honest, raw, and relatable (She uses a lot of profanity, so if that offends you, maybe don't check it out)