Inked

Since I was old enough to know what tattoos were I declared that I could never get one.  It wasn’t because of the needle – (DID I MENTION THERE WAS A NEEDLE AND SOME DRAGGING OF THE NEEDLE AND SOME MORE DRAGGING OF THE NEEDLE OMG) it was because I couldn’t imagine coming up with anything that I could get behind strongly enough to have it PERMANENTLY SEARED onto my flesh. I mean, there have been occasions in my life where I have driven to seven different stores searching like a fiend to find just the right pair of some article of clothing like wide legged pants only to find myself in front of the mirror a week later going “I don’t know you guys. Wide legged?”  So the thought of deciding on a design to live on my skin foreverandeveramen seemed too daunting and foolish a task to undergo.

And then around January of this year, I don’t know, I just got the urge.  Not so much the urge to be all GIRLS GONE WILD and tramp stamp myself right out of future PTA Presidency but the urge to leave behind some of the insecurities that have been rattling around in my head making so much noise all these years. NO TAKE BACKS.

Since leaving medical school I have been forced to identify what really makes me who I am.  In some ways, my place among the future doctors of America was a hiding place – a place where my credentials could do all the talking for me.  I wanted to be able to say, “I’m a medical student.  I’m going to be a doctor,” and let those things define me to other people so that I would be able to present myself with – I don’t know, extra credit? IQ points? Street cred?  I wanted to have a ready-made identity.

This didn’t occur to me until after I left med school, of course.  It took several hours in a room on a chaise lounge with a trickling fountain and a box or three of tissues (oh yeah, also, a counselor) to figure it out. But once I did, it wasn’t so much a heavens-parting-and-angels-singing kind of moment as much as it was like a WELL FUCK WHAT NOW kind of moment.

Enter: this blog.

Writing for other people’s eyeballs was neh-HEH-ver something I considered doing with my time. I didn’t like writing. I didn’t consider myself good at it.  I didn’t consider it, period.  It just wasn’t on the table.  And to write a WEBlog, well that meant putting myself out in the open for other people to see. And more basically, it meant that I had to, you know, have something to SAY. Saying something meant being something. Being someone. Being willing to be critiqued and observed and judged and commented on, both openly and in private. I think I never considered myself having enough moxie to be able to do that.

But I did it anyway.

And you know, it became this kind of exercise for me. I would start to write, and I would think “Yikes, can I say that in front of my mother-in-law? My neighbors? My college roommate?  My grandmother? Do I want them to know this?” And a lot of the time the answer was no, but I wrote anyway.

What happened and what continues to happen, as more people find this site, is that I am forced to be real.  All the time.  I see people at the grocery store, at church, at the library and they mention something I wrote, and it reminds me that that is me who wrote that. That is me who thinks that. And slowly my written words, which feel like the words of my truest self, have started to strip away the other things that I have hidden behind all these years, revealing things about me that I never knew were there.

There have been other things, of course, that have helped me arrive at the place I am now.  There is not a first draft manuscript of my self-titled autobiography “The Blog: STOP EVERYTHING AND GET YOURSELF ONE RIGHT NOW IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOREVER I SWEAR” in my bedside table drawer.  But I do believe that the writing I’ve done here has been an enormous catalyst in the metamorphosis I’ve experienced in the last couple of years.

Because it has helped me find my voice. And my voice is helping me find myself.

And by golly, I can strongly get behind that.

TATTOO

15 comments

1 katelyn { 09.09.09 at 10:49 pm }

love it. thank you :)

2 Rachel D { 09.10.09 at 12:01 am }

Well said Katelyn. Love it. Love the post, love the breakthrough, love the ink, love everything.

3 Leigh Ann { 09.10.09 at 8:00 am }

totally. utterly. awesome. and so….you. which makes it perfect. :)

4 Anjie { 09.10.09 at 9:12 am }

absolutely perfect. and, i think it could actually help your chances at your dream of pta presidency.

5 gmo { 09.10.09 at 10:27 am }

and your grandmother adores you anyway…….or because of???

6 Rev. Mama { 09.10.09 at 12:36 pm }

Beautifully said! I’m coming to claim these pieces of me that need to be housed together in this one self, and find that writing has helped that process so much. Thanks to you for being a part of that inspiration – for me and so many others. You do best what we are all asked to do: Tell the truth. Thank you.

7 Patrick { 09.10.09 at 3:54 pm }

Sing on!

8 alianora { 09.10.09 at 5:26 pm }

That is so cute! I love it! Why did you decide on that design?

9 Carol { 09.10.09 at 6:06 pm }

Rachel, you dance through life with courage. I admire your dance and your courage. Thank you for sharing it with me.

10 Lynn Peek { 09.11.09 at 4:42 am }

Absolutely perfect! I love it. Go, girl!

11 Jeremiah Jackson { 09.11.09 at 6:09 am }

Wow, wow, wow and I can’t say it enough times. That was really amazing.
Cheers to you, you rock!!
(ps I have I mom reading this now as well).

12 Trenches of Mommyhood { 09.11.09 at 10:58 am }

Bravo!

13 Becca M. { 09.11.09 at 10:18 pm }

I love your tattoo and the meaning behind it.

14 Sara P { 09.11.09 at 10:24 pm }

You rock Rachel! Also, thanks for opening up and being you – this blog makes my day better as it fills it with laughter, hilarity, wit, and sometimes tears. Thank you for keepin’ it real!

15 Mama Linda { 09.13.09 at 9:37 am }

Amen!

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