I’ve been extremely busy the past year.
I’ve talked to many people before about my tattoos, and how when I stopped self harming, I used tattoos as almost my cutting methadone – whenever I had the urge to cut or was suicidal, I’d go get a tattoo. Something small, a piece of something here or there, nothing that mattered to me because I just needed the sensation. I’d made the decision and had told some people that I was getting the tattoos on the tops of my wrists covered up; they were a reminder of my weakest times when I was dissociative more than present. On the inside of each wrist, I have one of my sons’ names. A month ago I got a stack of books on top of my left wrist to represent that son, my oldest. He’s a reader like me. He devours books and I’m hoping maybe one day he’ll love creating fictional worlds and writing as much as I do. He loves the tattoo and calls it ‘his tattoo.’
The inside of my right wrist has my youngest son’s name. He likes super heroes. That’s why he thinks I got this tattoo on my arm of a Wonder Woman bracer (that wound up being like armor – resembling Bucky Barnes’ metal arm in Winter Soldier but I won’t go into how my geeky heart is singing over this accidental crossover).
I have a mental health blog on tumblr, and there are people who have been there a while, supporting me while I worked toward being well, relying on my help and direction at times, witnessing my successes and seeing me at my worst. The last few years were a big deal for me. Getting BPD taken off my diagnosis, being published, overcoming social anxiety enough to attend the book launch, powering through and getting my Associate Degree in a year and starting my BA before being published again and getting to read my story to people – all of this was so hard and I am so proud. There have also been many bad days in between. There were days where I couldn’t move because of the depression. I fought off some absolutely horrifying suicidal notions for a while at the beginning of the year, and have been struggling the urge to self harm again because I keep validating my reasoning to do it just one more time – once and I’d be done for good this time. Like I said last time. But I haven’t.
During a stretch of these rough days in early 2014, my son got a Wonder Woman headband from a kid’s meal. He was bummed about it because he wanted something Batman or Superman related, and gave me the plastic tiara. It became a thing. Whenever I was crying or stressed about school when I was trying for that first diploma, he would go get that Wonder Woman headband and put it on my head. He said I was his Wonder Woman and I was a superhero, and he called me beautiful. He won’t remember doing any of that in a few years, but I will.
So after I got my book tattoos for the oldest to cover up the swirls that meant nothing to me, replacing them with something that I share with my son whose name dons the inside of that wrist, I got a Wonder Woman bracer to cover up the other. It’s huge. It’s my armor. It has nicks on it from battle. I look badass and strong, like I could take on anything. He loves it and asked if I got it because he likes superheroes, and I don’t know how to begin to tell him that I got it because he said I was his, and he put the tiara on me during bad days when I wasn’t sure how to make it to the next, and he and his brother gave me the best reasons to go on.
I’m their Wonder Woman, but they are my heroes.
Tattoo by Adrian Aldaco, Syndicate Tattoo in Manhattan, KS