A few months ago, I made a change to my body that many of my friends became vocal about - for better or for worse. I got inked.
For the most part, friends have been overwhelmingly supportive of me making this decision for myself, esp. as they recognize the time and energy that went into choosing the specific design, the colors, the style, the shop, the artist... It was all with an intent to be highly symbolic and therefore, needed to be specific.
I've wanted to get a Phoenix tattoo since last Fall. 2015 was a pretty difficult year for me, and in all honesty, the last few years have been hugely life-changing with many directional switches. In late 2013 I began lifting and clean eating. I began to switch my body's routines and the way I looked at overall health. From that choice, the other parts of my body began to show their issues. In two years time I had completed four major surgeries - gallbladder, knee, shoulder, and ending with brain. Additionally, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease in March of 2015. Brain surgery was perhaps one of the most difficult surgeries for many around me, and yet the easiest for me... I knew when they found the aneurysm it would probably equal a surgery, and instead of fear, for the first time I fully embraced TRUST. It probably helped that I had been through the other three surgeries, so perhaps they were blessings in disguise. I just KNEW Heavenly Father was going to take care of me... I knew I was suppose to do the surgery, and I knew God wasn't done with me here on earth. I knew I was going to be okay.
Some know this story... About 10 minutes before the surgery happened the doctor came in and told me he needed me to sign an extra paper. My brain was shaped differently than any other brain he had worked on in his 17 (I think that was the number...) years practicing and he wasn't sure how the procedure would react with my brain. It could mean another surgery, or even more severe issues (like paralyzed limbs) if it went poorly... or everything could be fine. I signed without a second thought and when asked how it was so easy or didn't I want to think about it, I said I already knew what the right choice was for me. I had prayed about it and God had been clear... This was the surgery I needed to become the healthiest and happiest me. Six months later at the post-op check-in, I was cleared of any sign there had been an aneurysm. I know I am meant to share that story and encourage others to fully trust in their Lord even when scared or unsure as to what will happen. It's also often a much needed reminder for me....
I wish I could say this was all the tattoo was about, however, there are SO many other things that happened during that year, and some of them I'm not ready to share publicly... some I'm just become brave enough to talk about out loud. A few weeks after my brain surgery, I had an incident where I was sexually assaulted. I have a hard time saying rape, and sexual assault feels safer... even though the incident itself wasn't safe. Weird how our brain thinks the way it does - almost self-preserves and protects you emotionally. However, sometimes, I believe my brain OVER does this protection... and I'm just now in life learning the power of letting it out. I experienced rape, and it was terrifying, traumatic, a little devastating, and demoralizing. I felt guilty - you'll never understand fully, but you question over and over again if it really IS your fault... and if this means you're a weak person. After the experience, you question your worth, your independence, your intelligence, your gut... you question EVERYTHING.
It's awful, and it's really hard to come back from... but completely do-able. It just takes a little emotional and spiritual rebuild.
Each experience of 2015 made me stronger and forced me to rebuild. I am not the person I was these few short years ago, and though I am grateful for the changes and new strength, I can not deny the happenings in life did indeed burn me and cause need for rebirth. Thus, the need for my phoenix.
"From the ash I am born again, forever safe in the Savior's hand..."
I feel like through some choices, and some happenings, I was burned. I was buried in my ash. I was, indeed, reborn. THAT is why I choose the phoenix. It stands as a permanent reminder that I CAN do hard things... that I have the ability to make it thorough anything.
We joke, "If Britney Spears could survive 2007, I can survive anything." I'm here in all seriousness to say, if I can survive 2015, I can survive and do anything... and so can you.
Song of the Day: "Alive" by Hillsong United... singing it in church on the 19th and a little bit of my inspiration for today's post. :)