Friday, April 13, 2007

Tattoo











I got a tattoo yesterday - a beautiful butterfly. I have been thinking about it for a while now and it has a lot of meaning to me.

These last few years my life has been through so many changes, all for the good. Not too many years ago I lived under the fear of religious legalism; always trying to live up to something and never quite measuring up, constantly worried about what others thought of me and trying to be what others wanted me to be (or at least what I thought they wanted me to be) and in the process learning to place judgement. I didn't really like myself because I was more concerned with making sure that other people liked me and that I "fit in". Two years ago I probably wouldn't even have gotten this tattoo simply because of what I feared others would think. I had gotten so lost that I didn't even know who I was anymore, didn't understand the unique purpose that God had created me for in the first place. I was trying to live "societal norms" that I didn't agree with but had somehow made an agreement with. I hadn't learned to think for myself because I was somehow okay letting what others think be my own thoughts and opinions. I was discontent with my life.

I now no longer live in fear, or at least am very aware when I begin to. I no longer worry about what others think of me because it really doesn't matter. God loves me unconditionally; I'm perfectly imperfect and I'm good with that. I've learned not to pass judgement, not COMPLETELY but off to a good start, letting others be who they are too, albeit different than me. I know who I am now, know the purpose that God birthed me into this world for. I know and embrace my unique gifts; they are my unique gifts, not others, and I don't expect people to always understand and like me from every angle. I certainly am no longer worried about "societal norms"; I can think for myself, thank you very much, and a lot of what society does just simply doesn't make sense to me and I refuse to make agreement with it. I am very content with my life, I have SO much to be thankful for. I have been blessed in ways I cannot begin to understand and I really like where I am at. And above all else, I have learned to love ME, and because of that it has allowed me to unconditionally love others. There are still lots of ways in which I can grow but I feel good where I am going. I am like that caterpillar, turned into a beautiful butterfly!

The thing even more ironic is that it all started with my mothers death; an experience that was so difficult that I am still grieving in ways I didn't expect, but, on the other hand, so many good things have come out of that experience for me that wouldn't have happened had she not passed away. I've learned to appreciate the difficult experiences that bring me closer to who I am supposed to be.

And every morning when I step in the shower, I will turn and look into the mirror, and when I see that butterfly sitting on my shoulder I will be reminded that today is a "do-over", a fresh start, a new beginning, and I will choose to give thanks for the beauty all around me; the beauty in me, in those that I love, in those that I don't care for so much, in God's awesome creation, in those ah-ha moments, in the bad experiences- I will choose to see the beauty in everything.

11 comments:

Heather said...

What a neat tattoo and story!! Thanks for opening up to us! I've been keeping up with the blogs I read, but haven't had a lot of time to comment. I always enjoy reading others' journeys.

kelli said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kelli said...

Oh Heidi, its beautiful! Perfect. I'm so excited for you. :) I've wanted one for a while and am thinking of doing it down in NC at the L & L. I'm trying to decide on what I'd want.

Snavleys said...

If we make it to the L&L I have a couple others I want, one being in memory of my mother. I have her signature that says, "Love, Mom", her handwriting that I want inked under the tattoo. Oh, and it so doesn't hurt that bad. I had myself all worked up, almost to the point of puking and it was a breeze!!

Heather said...

I had to check your blog as soon as I got your e-mail...I thought you went sky diving or something!

Your tatoo is gorgeous and your post is beautiful!

It's nice to know it doesn't hurt! I have never really wanted a tatoo...if I had one I would want it to be special and mean something like yours though...

Debbie said...

I'm popping over from Heather's blog. She mentioned you in her Thinking Blog awards post.

I love the tattoo and the story that goes with it. I can relate to pretty much everything you wrote except that I'm still in the middle of that journey to freedom of other people's (and my own) judgments. I am in it, though. I see where I want to change.

Thanks for the inspiration!

Snavleys said...

The first step is being aware! Life is a journey, not a destination and we have to enjoy the process too :) Good luck!

sonnier tribe said...

Heidi, I've been thinking the exact same thing lately. I've changed so much in the last 2 years and thought about getting a tatoo to display outwardly in the inwardly change. I just may have to now! The butterfly is beautiful!

tribalmama said...

Love the tatoo, but was especially moved by your expression of Self Love! So amazingly beautiful! ThankYou!!! :)

Snavleys said...

Thank you for your kind comments! I absolutely love it! It's all healed now, still a little itchy but looks great. No regrets!

Laura said...

What a lovely post! My heart tugged a little when you spoke of losing your mother. In many ways I know your pain - we lost my father unexpectedly last year, and each time I know someone else is experiencing the pain of losing a parent, it resonates deeply within the core of my being. I've blogged a lot about it too, my journey in grief. I agree that there's so much we learn in loss. And unschooling became more of a gift during that time than ever before. At times I've fought and questioned why it must be so, but it's the nature of it, and if we keep our eyes and heart open, it's also the beauty of it. What a lovely and healing thing that your self-awareness and metamorphosis and grief are all interwoven and now illustrated by your tatoo. Way cool.

I'm sorry for your loss. And Thanks so much for sharing.

Laura