Accidental Fudge

Updates Thursdays

Tag: tattoo

Where Did the Week Go?

It’s been a busy week. Possibly not much busier than weeks usually are, but the fact that it’s been in the upper 80s and humid in Chicago the past couple of days has made everything feels pretty overwhelming. In any case, here are a few of the highlights from the past week, complete with photos:

  • I got a tattoo on Saturday! An apprentice tattooer I’ve been following on Instagram had posted some flash that I thought looked great, and now I have a happy little plant on my ankle:

    Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 7.28.23 PM

    It’s my first color tattoo, and the first one somewhere other than my forearms. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out, and it’s healing nicely.

  • We got to see one of our favorite folk duos twice last week! Wednesday night, we went to a songwriting workshop put on by Mouths of Babes titled The Political is Personal. It was inspiring and got me halfway to finishing my assignment for my regular songwriting class. Then on Sunday, we got to see them play at SPACE in Evanston. It was (predictably) a fabulous show.

    Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 7.33.35 PM

  • I finished another nearly-two-year-old knitting project, though this one was much smaller than a sweater. A couple of summers ago, I bought a tiny owl kit from MochiMochiLand at our local yarn store. I knit the body of one owl at knit night the evening I bought it, and hadn’t picked it back up since. Over the weekend, I dug it out. I finished the first owl, and then started on another one:

    Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 7.37.05 PM

    I finished the second owl last night, and found a spot for them with my favorite old wooden owl (that used to belong to my grandparents) on the shelf we refer to as our owlery:

    Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 7.39.19 PM

    They were a lot of fun to knit, and I’m glad to finally have them done!

Reminders of Wholeness

According to Facebook, six years ago today was the day I got my first tattoo, on the inside of my right forearm:

FirstTattoo

I’d wanted a tattoo for as long as I could remember, and this symbol in particular since high school, and in a mid-semester fit of mania, decided to go for it my second-to-last semester of college. I went to someone a former roommate had recommended. It took about 45 minutes, and by the time I left I was shaking, slightly queasy, and not sure I’d ever be able to do it again. Twenty-four hours later, I couldn’t stop thinking about getting more.

I didn’t tell my parents ahead of time that I was getting a tattoo. I didn’t really have a plan for how that would go down. As it turned out, my mother called me as I was driving home from the appointment. She asked what I’d been up to that afternoon. I figured then was as good a time as any, so I told her. There was a long pause. “I don’t know how you expected me to respond to that,” she finally answered. “Neither do I,” was all I could come up with in response.

There are a lot of opinions on the internet regarding what the triquetra, or trinity knot, symbolizes. The idea that it could symbolize the Christian Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit softened the blow a bit to disapproving family members. The meaning that stuck with me, though, was the idea of the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit. I had finally been diagnosed as bipolar about a year before, and had spent a lot of time since then learning how to ride the waves of mania and depression, which often left me feeling pretty fractured. The knot on my arm served as a reminder that I was a complete person, even when my brain felt like it wanted to jump ship.

It was about a year after getting this tattoo that I started exploring the idea that I might not be a cisgender woman after all, and the idea of wholeness started becoming even more important as I started to consciously wrestle with dysphoria on top of the dysmorphia I’d struggled with most of my life.

I am not defined by any one part of my being, but by my interpretation of the interconnected whole. And regardless of what the darker parts of my brain or the crueller parts of the world might try to tell me, I am whole. Yes, there are times when parts of me need healing, but at my core, I am not a broken thing in need of rescue and resuscitation.

So today, amidst feeling a little frazzled and anxious about the weeks ahead, I’m going to take a minute or two to pause and appreciate the reminder that past-me had permanently written into my skin.

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