|My First Tattoo|
It's hard to believe that today marks 21 years since I first 'got sick'.
Even though my health has improved significantly in recent years, I still find this day a sobering one. I always find myself feeling 'blah' in the days leading up to my 'anniversary', even if my health is okay.
In an early session with my new counselor, as I told her my story we talked about the years that are in many ways 'lost to illness'. In a moment that took my breath away she said:
"Those years are gone. You can never get them back."
It's difficult not to try to 'make up' for what feels like lost time, try to pack in all of the things I couldn't do for so long, somehow try to fit everything I missed into my new life.
I will never get those things back--a career or graduate school or children or any of the other myriad experiences that often take place in the formative years of our 20's and 30's.
In a sense, the finality of her words was what I needed to hear. It felt like the air had been taken out of my lungs. I felt nauseous.
But, she is right.
|Butterfly in our Garden|
Those years are not gone in that they made me who I am today. They fortified who I am as a person, my deeply held values, and what matters most to me.
In moving forward, it's about creating my life now. I often forget that I'm not still 23! I sometimes forget that life didn't stand still waiting for me to get better in order to begin again.
It kept moving. And I kept persevering.
In honor of that life and that journey, I got a butterfly tattooed on my arm last August. Over the years, the butterfly has remained a symbol of hope, transition, resilience, beauty and transformation. It reminds me that there will be times when I am in a cocoon and others when I feel fully a butterfly.
It reminds me to keep going.
I chose a monarch because, over the years, I have witnessed many of them landing on the flowers in our yard. It is shaded in corals and oranges with a touch of green to remind me of the grass, trees, and mountains.
The only element missing is that of water and sky. The original sketch contains blue behind the butterfly, but I couldn't decide if I wanted that or not! So, that can be added later if I decide to do so.
What do you like better?
|To Add or Not to Add Blue?|
The butterfly is placed as if it casually landed on my arm. I love it. It is a daily reminder of my journey. It is a reminder on the hard days to persevere, to wait for the light to shine again, to know that I might feel like a caterpillar today, but another day I will feel like a butterfly again. It is a reminder on the good days of how far I have come and how I have grown.
|A Quote In My Counselor's Office|
I set aside the the 18th of June every year just to do something that is meaningful to me.
I'm blogging for the first time in 8 months! Whoa!
This afternoon Mom and I went to a lovely new shop in a nearby town opened by my favorite local jeweler.
|Elizabeth and me|
I met Elizabeth the first year that I was able to go to our local arts festival after many, many years of being too sick to go.
I found the perfect necklace. I'll always remember I got this for my 21st anniversary.
As one of my favorite music teachers always says about our days: "Make it a good one." And I did.
|New Necklace! The Photo Does NOT do it Justice!|
Despite the fact that my health has taken a bit of a dip lately, it was a wonderful afternoon, after which I napped, ate dinner with Mom and headed out for our evening walk.
And, since it's my 21st birthday all over again, I'm enjoying a bit of La Crema (one of my top favorite wines), too.
Here's a toast to the journey.