Day 715

The completed tattoo by Kirk Nilsen at Crown & Anchor

It’s done!

I’m thrilled by the final outcome. Kirk, the tattoo artist was so collaborative and we worked together for about 1.5 hours to design this tattoo. Going in, I had some idea what I wanted but it was just a general concept.

Working with the artist, he was able to capture what I was looking for, extrapolating the design from the meaning I shared (see previous post) and a few sketches shared back & forth.

And since the tattoo I’ve had reason to exercise the one of the main reasons I got it: personal boundaries.

C was less than thrilled, in spite of being warned for the last two years that this was happening, and at one point being supportive of the idea. His foul mood and stonewalling have continued from the moment I got home on Friday through today. And yes it bothers me, but primarily I feel sad that something that makes me so happy and fulfilled could make him so upset. It is a reminder of how different we are in some aspects.

But then I look down, see the band, and remind myself – his anger and sadness are his own to deal with, and while it wouldn’t be nice to flaunt my happiness in front of him right now, I’m perfectly OK to inhabit the joy I feel and shed any sense of responsibility for his reactions.

Pride is another emotion I’m owning right now. Pride that I’ve come this far, that I’ve shed an addiction to a substance that was harming me (and my family by proxy), that I made that commitment and never once turned back. With that freedom came a shedding of blinders, which has opened my eyes to the other areas of my life that need work… in some cases, like my marriage, a LOT of work.

And I’m owning that too.

The vertical line represents the continuation of my own personal work-in-progress. Never complete, but with each day one step closer to a healthier, happier self.

Day 712

Today is the day I get my tattoo and it felt worthy of a post.

712 days ago, I made a plan on how to quit drinking successfully. One element was a system of small rewards leading up to a big reward, this tattoo, to celebrate and mark 1 year sober.

Almost 2 years later, I’m finally getting it done.

And I want to document what it means to me, here, as reference to come back to if I’m ever questioning my decision (both on sobriety and on the tattoo).

The design is a thin band around my left forearm. The band will be interrupted or broken at one point to symbolize breaking the bonds I had with alcohol. And as the years are moving by, I’m realizing that taking that step gave me the freedom and awareness to break other, less visible bonds, and to create healthy boundaries between myself and those close to me. So the meaning of the tattoo has grown to encompass a process of letting go. Shedding the expectations of others, discarding the responsibility for other’s emotions, letting go of the things that have been holding me back.

I’m hoping that the design will also show a continuation of the path I’m on, in some way. That the process is not done, it has just begun. It is a work in progress.

Leaving now, with naked skin.