Hold On ; Pain Ends

I have quite a few tattoos now, over twenty I think, but this one hands down holds the most meaning for me.

The semi-colon is growing in popularity as a tattoo choice, symbolizing the (often difficult) decision to keep fighting against the monsters inside our own heads. For me it serves as a reminder of all that I have overcome, and is a mark of strength that I can look to whenever I encounter difficult days.

It is also a conversation starter. Even as I sat in the tattoo parlor waiting to get it done the Taiwanese man working behind the counter (and the only English speaker in the shop) asked me what it meant. I was at somewhat of a loss to try and explain it to him (I know I know – I should have been prepared for the question) and so he googled it. He looked at me and simply said, “oh I know… your story isn’t over yet”.

As I sat down and the tattoo artist turned his lamp onto my wrist and started placing the stencil where I wanted it, I was painfully aware of the scars on my arm. I felt embarrassed and wished, not for the first time, that they weren’t there, but as he began working I relaxed and remembered why I was getting this tattoo.

I, like so many others, am on a never ending journey of self acceptance. My battle scars are just as much a part of me as any of the number of good qualities I possess, and I would not be the person I am today without my dark side.

I know people will ask me about the tattoo, and I know I will always have some measure of anxiety when talking about it, but I will talk about it. Mental health struggles are nothing to be ashamed of and need to be normalized – end of story (but not the end of mine) ♥️

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