I’m not always vocal about my faith – mostly because I journey this life wishing to experience it in me, through me, and around me. This includes observing others as they do the same and wanting to find connection before opposition. I do not always know when my journey is influencing others nor when others are influencing me. I trust it happens – constantly. Though there are moments when I’m struck so strongly with the obvious effect on my life that I must sit and reflect on the long path that has been winding to that particular moment.
When I was 18, my birthday present from my mother was a tattoo. She was very eager about the present, and I spent a solid few weeks contemplating how I could wrap as much of my identity up into a single permanent impression on my skin. I decided on a fleur de lis (a symbol meaning life) with Celtic knot-work (a symbol of eternity and a reflection of my Celtic heritage) done in a henna brown color between my shoulder blades. With its size being bigger than a softball, it was certainly an ambitious first tattoo, but I tend to fully embrace commitments.
It healed beautifully, but within a year or so, the color had started to fade away. I got it touched up to bring the life back to it, but within another year, the color was fading again. It was as though my skin was rejecting the ink. I was tired of going back and sitting under the needle for two hours each time just to hope it would stick and being sorely disappointed (in more ways than one). So, I decided to allow the artwork to continue to fade away for the next decade.
During this time, I had an experience that defined my belief in a higher power, and the concept of eternal life came to have a new meaning. A few years later, I was having a conversation with the universe, and I came to have a new understanding of myself. It has a name for me – a secret name, a powerful one. It calls me “Wildflower,” and I saw myself in an open field, filling it with complex and ornate colors as I encouraged life to spring forth around me.
It was a beautiful concept – one I could only hope I could look back on my life and possibly witness the fruits born from it. But years passed and the memory became faded, or perhaps it just simply became part of me. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between the two.
Until recently. There has been some drastic movement in my life where I have been able to transition from breadwinner and momma to being able to have a renewed focus on a lifelong dream to pursue writing as a career. This is the beginning of a very long journey, but it has stirred change in my life. Positive change.
I looked in the mirror one morning and noticed the faded, discolored, splotched “artwork” on my back, and I suddenly, absolutely had to do something about it. Within a day, I had a consultation at a local tattoo studio and two days later I was under the needles again.
Now, my tattoo was so faded that I truly could have had anything cover it. Instead, I instantly decided I would keep the fleur de lis, but I would do it in a black outline with an explosion of watercolor from behind it.
To give you a little more insight into my character, I don’t do color well. I live in neutral tones. My home, my clothes, my car color – neutrals, please. If I try to incorporate color, everything gets disconnected and out of hand quickly. Still, I was set on the foreign concept of vibrant hues becoming a permanent part of my body.
Maybe I have a rash personality. I do operate very swiftly and decidedly. The tattoo artist free-handed the work, and by the end of it, he had incorporated every color of the rainbow. I trusted him completely. After all, nearly anything would have been better than the stain I had before.
I have to say that I absolutely love my new tattoo. It’s more beautiful than I ever could have imagined. I feel its presence on my back, because I can feel the identity it is pulling from me. A day after I got it, I was talking to my husband, and I was suddenly struck by the remembering of that conversation I had with the universe.
It wasn’t rashness. It wasn’t nonchalance. It wasn’t coincidence. I was moved by my true identity that I strive to live within every day. I want to bring light to this world with knew understandings as I lift people up with support and encouragement.
My old identity is covered over by the new. The old tattoo is still there. The outline of the fleur de lis remains, but I am both and the same. I am free to live a bold life, proud of my values and with a desire to spread forth the color. Trust in what I cannot see in the mirror. Instead, I must twist about to see what is on my back. My new art serves as a physical reminder that the universe moves through me and around me in majestic ways, and I am free and eager to witness and participate in this beautiful life.
*** A special thank you to Fredo at @LiquidInkLubbock in Lubbock, TX for unknowingly serving as a vessel with his genius talent.