This week I got a tattoo. It is a quote from James Baldwin across my back between my shoulder blades. I thought it was about one thing, but it turned out to be about something else. This is not an uncommon experience for me.
As you might have surmised, I am always looking for ways to grow. I try and find people and experiences that will push me to my edge, maybe make me uncomfortable, and force me to look at stuff that I would prefer not to look at.
When I got the tattoo, I thought it was about my romantic relationships. Several days later, I realized that it was not. This tattoo is a tribute to my mother.
My mother introduced me to James Baldwin via Giovanni's Room. The book had a huge effect on me. My mother also had a huge effect on me; she shaped the way I would choose the people I would become romantically involved with. She left me with experiences and trauma I would have to work through in order to be healthy and happy in those relationships.
For a long time, I blamed my mother. I was angry and believed deeply that she was responsible for my pain and suffering. She had neglected me in the worst ways, I believed, to the point where I thought I could not trust anyone ever again. She made me work so hard for her love that my eyes bled.
That is why this quote holds such power for me. Love is about my struggle to be flawed, to be completely bare in front of the ones I love, and still have the confidence in those people to love me. To have confidence enough to know that I am still worthy of that love. That struggle? That war? It is within, and through these experiences, I grow, if I have the courage.
I write a lot about being open, about being who you really are and being loyal to yourself, first and foremost. I also write about the filth and grime that lies within us. That in order to live with it, you must ultimately embrace it. That is my struggle; there is no one harder on me than me. There is no one who feels worse about the shit I live with than me. How embarrassing it is when I hurt people. Embarrassing when I cannot trust another because of my inner voice that tells me I am not enough.
But I struggle. I battle, and ultimately, I embrace this poor girl who cannot trust. I love her. But I also push her. Right to her edge where she can dance if she chooses.
Sometimes, she chooses.
Short but sweet. Delightful though, no? Share this. Tweet it. FB like it. Pass it on. Open up to that struggle. That war. It can save you.
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