Yesterday I cried in the Tattoo Shop. It wasn’t from the pain of the actual event. Last week I had sat still all day for new artwork without missing a heartbeat. I mean, it’s not that I find it painless, but once you are in it there is a hypnotic quality to the buzz of the needle as it completes its work, that makes the pain okay. Yesterday I had gone back for a short one last hour to complete the entire beautiful piece made up of peonies, lotus flowers, and mandalas, which I love beyond belief. There is so much meaning and detail in it. I feel stronger and more beautiful for having it. The last piece we had planned was to erase a 10-year-old crown tattoo on the back of my neck that has long since lost its colour and meaning by covering it with an open Peony with four dots around the leaves.

As my artist began to work I could tell that there was something wrong. The old tattoo was struggling under the new lines being etched into it. The skin was bubbling up. Something was very wrong. So, after the outline was finished, we stopped. We needed to wait to see how the skin heals, do some research as to what the problem actually is, and how we get to the end of the line in terms of finishing the tattoo, or find if we can even finish the tattoo at all.

If life was throwing me out an analogy for my current situation it couldn’t have been more obvious. The first response I had to the news was shock. I was grieving the plan I had in my mind. My moment in an hour’s time when I would leave the shop triumphant, and complete, my precious cargo with me. I was scared that the work we had done had scarred me, was going to cause pain or even worse never be finished. Leaving a painful hole, never filled. I cried. Grieving the vision, I had in mind for the tattoo. This was a piece that spoke to my past losses, and gave me strength and protection for the future. I wanted to complete it so badly. Wanted so much for it to be successful and beautiful and positive. I cried. Then talked some more. Had a cuddle and a lollipop and then laughed together about having lots more skin to go at. We made a plan to progress.

On a much bigger scale this is how these last two years have played out. A cycle of suddenly losing all hope and then finding it again. Having your precious thing and all the joy that comes with that taken from you. with all those ups and down in between the two milestones as you fight through grief and rebuilding your strength. I am now a much-changed person. Some good, some bad. I am starting to realise I have an amazing ability to bounce back. To recover quickly, make a plan and move forwards. But I am also at times I get overcome with fear and anxiety. I panic with a harsh spike of emotion, bring on tears in the Tattoo Shop. I don’t like this feeling of being totally over-whelmed by things that happen. I am not as motivated as I once was to succeed in anything other than being content, being with my family and having a baby. Although at this stage I am undecided as to whether this is a good or bad thing…

So last night I came home. I showered and felt much better. The skin on my neck was cool, still and dry. No pain, no heat. I found hope again that with some time my missing pieces would be with me. By the end of the evening I felt hopeful again. I finished our washing, made Nigella Lawson’s frozen pea and roast chicken, drank hot tea with honey and watched The Walking Dead in bed with my hubbie.

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