I was once asked by someone who was attempting – badly – to counsel me if my tattoos were a form of self-harm. I laughed, not knowing whether to be offended or simply amused at such ignorance. Self-harm? When I had finished laughing I simply said, “U’h, no; definitely not.”
If I wanted to harm my body, I’d take a knife to it and slice and cut and gouge, etc. However, I have never done any of these things…to my body. Oh, I have most certainly self-harmed. Mostly by trusting and getting attached to the wrong people and by tormenting myself with thoughts in my mind. The wounds I have inflicted to my soul are more painful and harmful than any I could place on my outer shell – which is all this body is. Emotional and mental self-harm? Yes, I am guilty. But, my tattoos? They are simply me “decorating the house”.
In less than a week, I am looking forward to getting my seventh tattoo. It’s my Christmas present from my husband this year. It’s well over 4 years since my last and I have been itching for fresh ink.
A lot has happened since last I blogged. A lot. Some of it really quite devastating – speaking of self-harm. This year has taken a real toll, but I have learned some helpful things. For one, a friend of mine gave me Ruby Wax’s book Sane New Word (Taming The Mind), which introduced me to Mindfulness. Does mindfulness cure depression and mental illness? No. But, it helps one to cope with it. It helps one to live more in the present and, as I put it, it allows one to “jump the train”. You know, the train of thoughts that runs away with you and takes you to a destination you don’t want to go to? Yeah, that train. Mindfulness is a way of jumping off that bloody train before it gets all the way to that place you don’t want to go to. I’ve just begun my journey with meditation in this way, so I am no expert. But, in just the small time I have been practicing this awareness, I have found it useful. And, I am slowly rebuilding myself. It cannot be stressed enough what hell these last few months have been like, and there was some time that I thought I could never recover. It remains to be seen how much I will recover, but I now have a tool to ground me in the present (instead of getting caught up in the past or fretting over the future) and help me to cope somewhat better.
One thing meditation reiterates in the thinking is that we are not the physical. I am not my body. I am the person within, using the body. And, while some mis-informed, ignorant types may look at tattoos as either desecration of the body or, weirdly, some elaborate (not to mention expensive) form of self-harm, I am going to enjoy getting the decoration and then enjoy said decoration itself for as long as I am forced to dwell in this body. One day, I will be free of the thing. Until then, I am decorating it as I choose to.
Thank you for reading and I wish you all wellbeing.
Ooohhh, and how could I forget? I have also released a new single since last I blogged! It’s available from CD Baby and Amazon and iTunes. So head over to whichever one of those MP3 music providers who prefer and get downloading!