So I done gone and did it…I went this weekend on a 5 hour voyage to explore strange new…wait…wrong stories…
I had a very awesome and frabjous friend create my awareness tattoo.
It’s not my first, most certainly NOT my last…and every piece of my ink has it’s own story. This, on the surface, appears to be a very cut-and-dry meaning:
Awareness tattoo. To bring awareness. Stellar.
This isn’t exactly what it means to me, however…so lemme tell you why!
I first, however, need to tell you about another tat I have. It’s a Phoenix. I needed this tattoo as it is a striking resemblance to the stages and “lifecycles” of my own life…things go really well…things go really bad…and through both, I keep circling through the crash and burns into bigger and better things. More importantly…I have learned lessons through each cycle that many people, through their own life experiences, never do…thus enabling me to be able to provide perspective in ways that can help people enduring their own crash and burns.
The caterpillar to butterfly morph is more, shall we say…”linear”. I believe this is important to me at this time, through this journey of chronic illness, because I believe there is it’s own “step/process” of self-management that occurs starting from the day of diagnosis (in my case, anyways…)
I’d found this image while searching for something awhile back (Google, tattoo…wait for it…), and am finally using it now to illustrate my point. It’s not exactly how *I* would structure it, but I think you can at least see the similarities to where you are in your own stage(s) of chronic illness.
See, I’ve carried a lot of high-strung emotions since my own diagnosis last November of which I’m not getting into at this point because 1) it’s not productive, and, 2) it’s not what this post is about!
I have had several conversations with my soon-to-be-spouse about the emotional side of it all…and most of these conversations have stemmed from a deep-seeded, irrational (perhaps) fear that he will leave me. Because I’m not perfect. Because I’m not the “whole” of the woman he fell in love with. Yadda Yadda Yadda.
[enter caterpillar, stage left]
There was one point, however, where I made a statement to the effect that, “I know I’m just in a ‘process’…I’ll move to this stage from that stage and eventually I’ll get to the point where I’ll wake up and say, ‘Let’s get a gameplan going!’ ” Yet, I have been so wrapped up in anger, fear and resentment and generally wanted to either blow up the planet (in my brainfog, I seem to have misplaced my illudium Q-36 explosive space modulator) or crawl into a fetal position and cry for the next 5 years. That “gameplan” stage seemed so easy to get to, but I wasn’t moving…just…formulating…and planning…I’ve spent the last couple of months hashing out ideas and thoughts, but nothing, to date, has come of it…
[enter chrysalis, stage right]
Until now. NOW…I’ve got the gameplan. NOW…not only do I have the gameplan, I also know when and how each strategic offense will compliment each pre-existing defence.
It’s like I’ve experience another type of death/rebirth…(um)…thing…and that finally I’ve reached a point at which I can attest to having reached….wait for it….
This is monumental for me because yes, I can still have emotional meltdowns or bitch-fests or whatnot. What it also means is that it’s not the focus or fuel for the anger and resentment.
In a nutshell, being chronically ill sucks ass. I’m just finally at a point where I can *shrug* and say,
“It is what it is.”
[ENTER BUTTERFLY, STAGE CENTER]
My butterfly starts in my past, next to the tattoo in memory of my grandmother and great-grandmother…it ends underneath, supporting, if you will, the tattoo in tribute of myself and my children…and through it all, I define my existence in the present as a visual representation of my journey through the process of transformation…
“If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.” ~Author Unknown
Like my compression gloves show you I’m hurting…my butterfly shows me how far I’ve come…
And, y’know…of course shows everyone the cause…cuz I can badass multi-task like that… ;o)