"We'll see how brave you are" (new tattoo)

09 February 2014

Last Friday, I got a long-awaited tattoo: "We'll see how brave you are"

 
 
I was done by Lu, at Quillian2 Tatouage, in Clermont-Ferrand, France, in my handwriting. 
(The rose tattoo is a few years old, and was done by Matt Lettau, in Elyria, Ohio.) 
... and for those who wonder, it's on my inner forearm.

 These words are an integral part of me,
they are written on the inside, and now, on the outside, as well.
 
This lyric, from the song "Yes, Anastasia" by Tori Amos (from the album, Under The Pink,) has been a powerful mantra for me throughout my life. I first heard the song in 1994, when I was 13, and it felt like lightning had struck me, right in the heart! This year is the 20th anniversary of the album, and so it's quite befitting that I should have it tattooed now, after so many years. 

 
These words have been a light for me, a source of great strength and encouragement, in all of the darkest times of my life, since that moment I first heard the song. They've helped me to get through some of the most horrendous moments, to make it through the times of my deepest despair, and most paralysing fear, when I felt that I would surely falter, and even times when I wasn't sure if I'd even live to cry about it later... 

"We'll see how brave you are" was there, and I held onto the music like the hand of an angel, and every time I've needed it, this lyric helped me to find the courage I didn't know I had.


Recently, this lyric has helped me to keep my shit together, 
when all I've wanted to do was crumble ...


In November, my mother died, suddenly. 
I've been running on a short supply of courage ever since. 
I wasn't emotionally prepared for this, not in the slightest, and being on the other side of the world made things complicated to arrange. I had no idea what to do, where to start... 
And most of all: how I was going to cope with the giant black hole that suddenly appeared in the center of my life.

When I was faced with arranging my mom's memorial service... with writing her obituary... 
with calling/e-mailing family & friends, to let them know about mom's death...
with making the gargantuan trip from central France to southern California,  then northern Ohio, and back...  At each step of the way,  I took deep breaths and said/thought/sung to myself: 
"We'll see how brave you are..." 
 
When it came time to go into my mom's home, and clear everything out... 
discovering just how bad her hoarding had become, then having to sort through it all ... 
finding little precious keepsakes I'd made for her... having to watch some of her paintings and her lifetime of collected memorabilia go into the trash bin...
 "We'll see how brave you are..." 

Facing my family and friends... keeping it together, making it through dinner and drinks,
"We'll see how brave you are..."

On the way to the memorial, writing the eulogy in the back seat of my aunt and uncle's car, my hands were so cold, and I was starring at that blank paper, with pen in hand, not knowing what was the right thing to say, what words could possibly be enough ... 
 "We'll see how brave you are..." 

Mom's memorial service...
 Stepping up onto the little stage, the light in my eyes, my heart in my throat...
"We'll see how brave you are..."



 Preparing the placement


Anticipation...

...more photos are behind the cut :




 It begins ...
 

inking " brave " ...


Wiping the ink... almost done...

 Wincing! It feels like a cat scratch.

 The finished tattoo.


Thank you, Lu, 
 for your beautiful and professional work.

Thank you, Quyen, 
for taking these photos.

Thank you, Tori, 
for channeling, performing, and recording this song.

Thank you, "Yes, Anastasia",
  for helping me find my courage, then, now, and in all times yet to come.

3 comments:

Lisa Viger is Raw on $10 a Day (or Less!) said...

What a touching and honest post, Bonnie. Sending you much love and bravery :).

Selah Gay said...

May you continue to find out just how brave you really are, Bonnie... ♡

Rose said...

Good job, I like flower tattoo.

Post a Comment