Chapter 19 : Emergence
Back in Chapter 7 : The Damage Done, I told you about the atrocious tattoos that I got, and my terrible, illogical reasons for getting them. I vowed that when I was on the road to recovery, and I was able to confidently say that I was coming out of the other side of this dark time, that I would remove that awful branding, and replace it with something that I wouldn’t be ashamed of, or wouldn’t make my stomach sink when the subject of tattoos came up, and someone wanted to see it, or worse, when I forgot about it, and someone would see it and say, ‘what’s that on your back?’ and request a closer look. Well the time came.
Don’t get me wrong, I still get bad days, but more good days. I still have trouble sleeping some nights, and trouble waking some days, but despite this, I know that I am feeling better than I was. I see joy, I laugh, and my thoughts are not consumed by doom 24/7.
About 2 weeks ago, I remember lying in bed, and thinking about a knitting project that I was working on. I’ve only learnt to knit since I got home, so it is a new thing, but I enjoy it, and find it therapeutic, and was working on a pattern of my own. It’s a simple design, but I was giving it a great deal of thought, when it suddenly occurred to me, that for the first time in since I can remember, and certainly since I became aware that the depression had come back and bitten my ass, I was thinking about something other than Twat Face, and the problems that he had caused in my life. I even smiled to myself, and was so happy about this milestone, that I couldn’t wait to share the good news with my mum. Finally, I felt like I was emerging out of the other side, and this made me smile.
I decided that I would go back up north to see Jackie, and whilst there, I would go to the tattooist there, and finally do it. I had chosen my design; it would be a 3D butterfly, to signify my emergence from a very dark chapter in my life, from my cocoon to a butterfly. I was excited, and not just about the tattoo, but also to be able to see Jackie again. The last time I went, I had not been home for long, and I wasn’t exactly at my best, so off I went.
I had already chosen my design, and checked on my last visit that it could be done. We made the appointment, and then we had to wait, for 4 days. I was quite upset that I couldn’t have it done that day, but everything in life happens for a reason, and this was no different.
During my visit, things came to light that devastated Jackie. I won’t go in to detail, but things happened that would floor most people. I didn’t know what to say or do, and all I could do was be there for her. She closed herself down, couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep and couldn’t think, and all of this was quite understandable, but very worrying to those of us around her that were not only out of our mind with worry for her, but also aware that the children needed protecting from this, no matter what, so we had to hide this from them until she was ready and strong enough to deal with it.
48 hours was all it took. Jack Bower has some serious competition with Jackie. She is bad-ass! I’m not saying that she is over it, of course not, but she dealt with it in her head, and got to the mindset that it ‘was what it was’, it couldn’t be changed, therefore, the only course of action was to deal with it, move on, make sure that the children were ok, and pull herself together. It was amazing to watch, and I felt so privileged to have a friend that was so strong. I did try to tell her, but it reduced me to tears, and does now as I write this. She had decided, that no matter what: she was in control of her life, and she would make it ok and she would not need anyone else to sort it out as she would not allow someone else to control her emotions. I am trying hard not to belittle the situation that she dealt with, but it is hard to explain how strong she was, without making it sound like it was nothing! It was something, and it would have crushed most people!!! The point is, she is amazing, and quite a role model. Her children are very lucky, and will be extremely capable grown-ups if they deal with life’s hurdles like their mum.
Back to the story, 48 hours later, we had Jackie back. Albeit a very tired Jackie, she hadn't slept in two days, so it was quite understandable, and also very fragile, again, no sleep, no food, very understandable, but all in all, she was back. She was also very excited about my tattoo! How she found the enthusiasm I will never know, but she did, and spent the last night looking at pictures, and talking about the future. I was glad then that we had to wait, and that there was something to look forward to. Trust fate, there is always a reason.
The pain wasn’t as bad as I remembered, but this time, I wasn’t as stressed, The first time, I knew that I was doing something that I couldn't take back, that my parents would hate. This time, I had their support and their understanding. I was excited rather than rebellious, and the pain seemed quite cathartic. It stung, but I just kept thinking, ‘this is the last pain that twat face will ever cause me’. The past was eradicated, and replaced with something that I love. I am proud of it, I can’t wait for people to see it, and even though my parents are not tattoo lovers, they appreciate that it is a beautiful tattoo.
I will show you my before and after at the bottom of this post, and I can only say that I love love love it, and any pain was worth it, and now, even though it is rarely on show, I may have to get the other one covered. It is equally hideous, but more discreetly positioned.
Whilst there, I had another little one done. It is a small semicolon, and it is neither beautiful or a cover up, but just a little note to myself that I can get through anything. If ever there is a time in my future that the depression comes back, and I forget that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, this will remind me that there is, and I have found it before. It is just for me, is covered by my watch strap, but has as much meaning to me as the one on my back. Take a look at this link about the ‘Semicolon Project’, and you will see why I got it. The short description would be this: When an author uses a semicolon, he could have ended the sentence, but decided to carry on. As the authors of our own lives, and our lives being the story, when we could have chosen not to carry on, we did.
"A semicolon represents a sentence the author could have ended, but chose not to.
The sentence is your life and the author is you." - Project Semicolon