I have two tattoos that I chose with purpose. I have one, that Fate decided for me.
I have a beautiful blue butterfly on my lower back. The butterfly looks as though it’s either landing or about to take off in flight. Coming or going; movement, just the same. Across the top of my right foot is the inked image of a broad winged red-tailed hawk. Again, in the position of flight.
Depression manifests itself in numerous ways; the ways are just about as unique as fingerprints are to an individual. But I think most would agree: depression, at its core, is suffocating and stagnant. The stillness feels like a cocoon from which there is no escape. Desire and the eternal flame of hope that flickers within one’s soul just as the heart beats within one’s body – is non present. Or so it feels.
My two tattoos indicate my push to set myself free from that cocoon; to emerge, hopefully in one healthy piece. The butterfly, I adopted as a part of myself shortly after a deer torpedoed my Harley (with me on it), nearly causing the end of my life. The hawk I adopted after having written my first novel and just before I set out to make writing my career. I often look down at that hawk, and when I do I’m reminded of how steady they fly regardless of the turbulent winds they are often up against. Their mission is clear; their aim is steadfast; to succeed they cannot waiver. Much like how it feels being a writer.
As for that third tattoo; it’s a scar, a rather large one, that sits on the left side of my abdomen. A reminder of that day when my bike and I went down; the result of a deer running for its life, fleeing a coyote. Odd how my life nearly ended due to another life trying to preserve its own. But I survived, against many odds. Sadly, the deer did not. And that scar upon my abdomen reminds me that even when I feel at my weakest and most vulnerable; even when life has thrown another devastating hardship my way, I have survived worse.
I look at all three of these as markers, date stamps that indicate a time in my life. A moment that signalled change. Upon first glance only two of these markers appear beautiful, but to me there is beauty in all three.