I don’t often share my tattoos online. Even when I got my first, I didn’t take any good photos. They are all originals – my artist is amazing at taking my words and turning it into something beautiful. Each one is entwined with layers upon layers of meaning for me and are, to my knowledge, unique (yes, even the Harry Potter one on my foot, if you look closely).
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been through rough patches. This tattoo was designed partially to cover up self-harm scars. I’m not ashamed of them, but the sight of them ended up being a lure back into the world of razors on wrists. It was my artist’s idea to put the foliage over the more obvious ones. The roots subtlety spell out the word “wick” as a reference to one of my favorite books “The Secret Garden.” In the book, the protagonist finds a garden and thinks it’s dead. A friend shows her that it isn’t, it’s just dormant. He cuts into a branch, revealing a green core, proving that the plants are “wick,” alive.
Today has been the roughest day yet in my hysterectomy recovery. I was expecting to return to school this week. I have a major paper due on Thursday, a major exam on Thursday, and major edits on another paper due on Friday…and those are just the assignments that I know about. Next week is spring break.
I’ve already been out longer than I’d anticipated – though some of that is probably due to my anticipation that I’d be able to bounce back quicker because I’m young (and arrogant). I returned to my lessons on Thursday and they wore me out so much I was scared to drive home. I had one lesson Saturday and picked up some Gatorade to combat some hydration issues I’ve been having (it’s hard to drink plenty of water when you’re only awake for 5-10 hours a day). My WBC count is higher than it was before the antibiotics, but the NP (not my doc) isn’t concerned and I’m left feeling ignored seeing how I still have a fever and my pain got bad enough today that I was swearing uncontrollably when I took the painkiller (maybe I hurt something carrying the six-pack of Gatorade…or my cat jumped on me wrong or something). Today, I’m feeling pretty down in the dumps. I’m not mourning my uterus or anything, just upset that I’m not back on my feet and have been hit with unexpected complications.
This brings me back to my tattoo. If you’ve done the math, you’ll notice it’s taking a hell of a lot longer for me to complete my BA than expected. If everything goes as planned and I graduate at the end of this semester, I’ll have spent seven years as an undergrad – a fact that I am ashamed of, even if circumstances do say I have every right to be perfectly okay with the extra time. Being out of school this long and, worse, falling behind while I’m out makes me seriously concerned for my future. Yeah, I’ve got backup plans upon backup plans, but they aren’t what I’m aiming for. I feel as if my life is sitting on a point, ready to tip one way or another and I have little to no influence on which way it goes. In a way, I feel dead,* as if my body is sitting stagnant while my soul tries to flit off to another place.
But I’m not dead – I’m dormant. Today was the first day in a while that I had to dip into the Vicodin to manage the pain, so I’m pretty loopy. I was lying in bed (with Sophie and Dinah curled up by my legs) and looking at my arm. I was disappointed in myself; why wasn’t I living I kept asking. And then it hit me. I am alive, but dormant. This is not a time for me to display flowers or to bear fruit. My leaves have fallen off and I am covered in a blanket of snow. My tattoo has come to my aide again. Sure, I have some dead branches I’ll need to clear out (things like not being able to use stairs again and not carrying something bigger than a gallon of milk), but I’m alive. This isn’t the time to be spreading my branches wide, but rather to shed and to rest.
Part of why I’m writing this blog, it occurs to me, is because it gives me something to do. I don’t have the energy to translate medieval Latin poetry. I don’t have the energy to do an in-depth critical analysis of anything; I can barely read for pleasure, let alone for academic pursuits. Blogging is by far and large not academic writing. It’s not writing in a diary (what I find to be the “easiest” writing), but it’s not an 8 page analysis of a single stanza of Steven’s “The Man with the Blue Guitar” either. Also, have you tried reading metaphysical poetry while one painkillers? It’s not much for academic extraction, but I can’t deny that it wasn’t an experience either.
So, no, I haven’t seen “Deadpool” yet. I’ve missed productions my friends are in that I really wanted to go to. I’ve been spending what most people would consider, under normal circumstances, an unhealthy amount of time with my cats. I’ve fallen behind in my classes. This does not make me dead though. If I were to stop trying to get better, stop trying to create things (like this blog), stop making to-do lists that get just a tiny bit longer everyday so I can get a tiny bit stronger, then and only then will I stop being wick.
*Please note, this is NOT depression nor am I suicidal or crying out for help. I WANT to be back in the real world and am doing everything I can to get back. I want to get BACK to living.
First image from here.