I woke up beaten — by life, by people, by events, by everything else. One day, I woke up, realizing that the nightmare has been my real life after all. And between the state of pain and numbness (the worst purgatory of all), I got my tattoo.
I got my tattoo to remind myself that there are lots of pain in the world, that I should feel them all, that I should feel the pain when it’s here. I wanted to prove to myself that there’s no pain in the world that I can’t survive — and I did.
I got this tattoo when I was at the edge of my breaking point; when my mask was the only strong part of me left. One wrong touch and I knew I’d crumble. Yet, during my weakest moment, I decided to push my limits: I ran towards the wall, fast and unstoppable.
But instead of breaking, I grew tougher. Instead of it being my final leap off the cliff, it drew me back. It glued me at the edge, turned me around, and gave me strength to fight again. Every prick of the needle pushed the ink through my veins, flowing and rushing, until my heart pumped nothing else but dark droplets of ink-stained blood. And if this ink is poison, then this is the poison I embrace. I will swim on it for the rest of my days until it becomes the air I breathe.
This tattoo, no matter how you see it, is the only part of me that stayed when everything else vanished. It is the only permanent part of me, the only thing that will never leave.
I didn’t dare try henna or other temporary tattoos, even though a tiny voice told me that I might change my mind soon and regret this crucial, impulsive step. But you have to understand that temporary is the last word I need. After losing everything and everyone, I don’t need something to add to my growing list of once-upon-a-time’s. For once, I made sure that I will have something that will always, always stay.
So today, as I raise my hand, I raise a feather — the symbol of my freedom, of my self-given strength, of my individuality, of my long-forgotten wings. This is my reminder that when life paralyzed me, I gave myself a reason to move, to fly.
To those who asked and will be asking me, “Why the hell did you get yourself tattooed???”
I’d say, “To give myself the strength I needed when nobody else — yep, not even you — can.”