I took this selfie after my most recent tattoo was completed. The tattoo is inspired by an Audrey Kawasaki painting, entitled I’ll Stay Here.
Every tattoo on my body represents a time of transformation. In fact, I seem to get them after my life has gone through lots of upheaval. Major life changes are scary and difficult. But they are temporary. And for me, a tattoo is the physical manifestation of my emotional landscape, of long periods of my heart pounding out that dull aching pain. The physical experience allows me to acknowledge, accept and, ultimately, celebrate my own growth. This is why I don’t worry about the permanence of tattoos: each one represents who I was at a very specific moment in my life. Each one marks a kind of rebirth, an emergence from inner turmoil. Each one is a reminder why I am who I am, and how I got here.
I’ll Stay Here
She looks a little reluctant, but also resolute, and almost at peace again. You’ll notice that the feathers in her hair are actually bones: This is how she carries the dead with her but, more importantly, this is how she has transformed grief into something beautiful.
This latest tattoo acknowledges the most intense emotional turmoil I have ever experienced: losing William some 18 months ago.
The death of a lover has to be one of life’s longest journeys through the dark, riddled with anguish, desperation and indescribable heartache.
Grief has a way of luring us away from life. From living. It takes strength and will to recover from grief.
To me, this tattoo is about the desire to live. This is about celebrating those we have loved and lost. It is about the courage to say:
I’m letting you go,
I will never forget you, but
I’ll Stay Here.