I hate needles. So much so, that I opted out of epidurals and had natural deliveries with both of my children. Needles mean that a person with medical expertise is going to take over my body. Needles mean I am helpless. Needles mean I am powerless. Needles have meant that my body has betrayed me and I am going to get poked and prodded. Needles have symbolized a lack of control and fear in my past. This is all due to my medical history starting at birth. Although I am 48 years young and quiet understanding that all the pokies in my past have been to help rather than harm me; I still HATE needles.
It’s easy to imagine my sweet momma’s expression when I told her I wanted a tattoo for my birthday this year. She laughed in surprised response and reminded me that I hated needles and probably wouldn’t enjoy a tattoo. I thought this was all the more reason to get one. I wasn’t trying to prove anything to anyone. This tattoo was something I felt a need to do for myself. After all, life begins out of our comfort zones, right?
I had a plethora of ideas and feedback about what I should do. I was all over the board with my options. Then, as most things do, it came to me very clearly. Rather than spend all of this blog explaining what I did not do, I would love to share my experience as well as what I did do and why.
I chose to get a hummingbird with the words, “I’m a love a you.” I chose to have it on the inside of my wrist so that I can look at it often and remember. Here’s the backstory…
My brother Brent passed away in 1987. Every single year, starting then, a hummingbird has appeared to my mom or a member of our family on the week of the anniversary of his death. We have always felt like it was a sign that Brent was okay. It has always happened at the craziest of times and seems to be an isolated event. Even this year, in the home I had been in for only 4 months…I was sitting on my deck in the morning drinking coffee and thinking about how many years Brent had been gone. Right then, a little hummingbird hovered around my head and then to my plants. That is the only time I have seen a hummingbird here…until tonight…but that’s another story.
I looked up hummingbird symbolism and meaning. I found that in Native American cultures, hummingbirds are seen as healers, bringers of love, good luck and joy. In central America, they bring love to the person who spots them. In various cultures, hummingbirds are considered to be messengers from heaven, gently nudging us to move on and release the burden of people or things that can no longer be part of our lives. Lastly, and my favorite was the folklore indicating that a hummingbird is a sign that a loved one who has passed away has successfully made it to the other side and is doing just fine. (LOVE).
Hummingbirds generally symbolize joy, playfulness and adaptability; tireless in their effort to find sweetness and as a reminder to pursue our dreams and not allow obstacles to stop us…regardless of distance. They are whimsical. They are magical. They flit from place to place. They fly so freely. I have been set free from so very much. The hummingbird and I seem synchronous in nature. Everything fits.
Then….”I’m a love a you.” This is something my Daddy and Momma said to each other. My daughter and I were talking in the car. I had decided on a hummingbird yet I felt something was missing. She reminded me of this phrase. That was it. A perfect honor to my parents; they are all about the love. I smile every time my heart hears them say, “I’m a love a you.” If I can love others (starting with my children) as much as they loved each other and their cherished ones, I will have lived my life well.
I had the most fabulous tattoo artist and human being help me through this process. I survived and we had the best conversation the whole time I was getting inked. That is not what I imagined would happen. Masked in the covid area and getting a tattoo can’t keep meaningful human connection away!
I keep trying to decide what it felt like. Not painful really. Maybe uncomfortable and aggravating describe the sensation best for me. It was a phenomenal experience. I am incredibly proud of myself for doing this. Earlier today, when I was chatting with my daughter, she made me pinky promise to her demand that I ‘not chicken out’.
I will look at this tattoo daily and cherish it’s story. Whether only I know it or share it with others; it represents the love that has always embraced me, who I am, and who I have the freedom to be. “I’m a love a you” also is a tangible reminder that not only am I surrounded by love, I love myself.
I can do hard things.
p.s. Tonight, I was standing outside by the moonflowers with my kiddos. Guess who came to visit us but a dancing little hummingbird?
Hope has taken flight.