In March, I went to Vegas for the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals conference. I wish I could say it was a blast. I have been having reoccurring nightmares this year about defending my son and myself against an onslaught of tidal waves. Unfortunately, the tidal waves hit me hard far away from my everyday life, which made for a challenging trip. Getting divorced SUCKS, even if it seems to be for the best. So many losses are involved. So much to grieve. I still remember how I felt when I fell in love with my future ex-husband. It was electric and unbelievable. I saw a vision of our future in his eyes – the home, the family, the life we would build together. I know someday I will be happy for that memory. Right now it is down right painful. I just made a list of the things that infuriate me about him so when that longing hits, I have ammo.
The Vegas trip ended on a positive note, though. I went to see LOVE at the Mirage, the Cirque du Soleil show based on the music of the Beatles. It was breathtaking. And I spent the night at the tattoo shop of a friend of a friend, Sikink Studios Tattoo. I couldn’t come home from Vegas saying I spent the night in a tattoo shop and didn’t get a tattoo… So… at 37, separated and mother of a 3 and 1/2 year old… I got my first tattoo – the Kanji symbols for STRENGTH and BEAUTY.
It seems like one of the mot fun parts about getting a tattoo is telling people you did it. I knew most everyone I told would be excited for me, everyone that is except for my sweet, sweet mama. My Mom has never been a fan of piercings or tattoos. When my little sister, Becky, got her belly buttoned pierced in college, my poor Mom had such a struggle. She lamented, “You were such a beautiful baby!”
I was debating when to tell my Mom and Dad about my tattoo because I didn’t want them to worry that I had an emotional breakdown in Vegas and got manic and impulsive. My sisters, however, really, really, really wanted me to tell them as soon as I drove up to our most recent family gathering. It seemed a little strange that they were encouraging me so earnestly, but I just went with it.
My Mom and Dad were sitting out on my sister Katie’s front porch in Charlotte. My Dad was in the rocking chair, and I joined my Mom on the porch swing. I swiftly let out my confession: “Mom and Dad, I want to show you something. I got a tattoo when I was in Vegas.” I pulled up my sleeve and unveiled the still healing tattoo. My Mom looked a little shocked, but not as shocked as with what happened next.
My sister, Katie, unveiled her own “tattoo.” I’ll tell the rest of this story in pictures:
This story is one of the many examples of how my family has rallied around me during this challenging Death/Rebirth year. The Reclaiming Beauty journey is no easy task. It is so important to immerse yourself in the love of your tribe when you can. I know I am extremely lucky to have found my tribe in my family of origin. For many, this tribe must be created through a family of choice. Whatever it is for you, never underestimate the importance of a tribe. Go soak up some love from yours RIGHT NOW. If you don’t have one, take one step towards developing some heart line connections. You never know how they will surprise you with their love. Mine got all tatted up to show their support for me.
Tattoo stories are amazing Reclaiming Beauty stories. Please consider contributing to the blog by sharing the story of how your tattoo symbolizes your Reclaiming Beauty journey. I just added “Tattoos” as a Category for the blog. Check out the other tagged Tattoo posts on the blog and then send your story in for us all to enjoy.
Looking forward to reading your Tattoo contributions!
With love from a virtual member of your tribe,
Image: Leah Joy Numair