For years I have had this pent up anger inside of me. Not just normal anger, but an utter disgust of life and everyone in it. Why? Because I’m tired. I’m tired of feeling as if I exist only for others to step on. I’m tired of feeling like the only identity I have is mentally ill. I’m tired of sympathetic looks and yet no understanding of the concept of depression. I’m tired of holding everything in. I’m tired of hating the town I’m in. I’m tired of waiting for me to wake up one day and say “I’m okay.”. I’m tired of carrying this trauma around and feeling tainted. I’m tired of only having toxic relationships. I’m tired of being judged for my decisions to get tattoos to help me heal. I’m just tired.
Tainted, toxic, tattooed.
All three of these intertwine with each other and feed off each’s negativity. I have only had toxic relationships; not just romantically but friendships and career. These relationships have led me to believe that something is wrong with me to the point where everyone can see some sort of branding. Like ” SCREW ME OVER. IT’S EASY. I CAN TAKE IT.” The truth is, I can’t take anymore. Each of my two tattoos have resulted from a terrible experience I’ve had. And everyone’s reaction is, “so every time something bad happens to you, you’re going to get a tattoo.” NO. Anytime something happens that makes me, me, I will allow myself to spread awareness to others as well as reminding myself how much I have gone through. The two ribbons on my forearm represent two grave instances. Pink for breast cancer and yellow for suicide awareness. My grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer and fought for years until it spread throughout her body. She was the strongest woman I know. To see someone suffer as life is dwindled away was torturous for me. I couldn’t understand why God, someone I was taught to trust, would let this happen to anyone; especially this woman.
High school,which was a whirlwind of emotions to begin with, add six suicides. Six. All within the same year, plus more after I graduated. For anyone that woke up and went into those hallways and heard “How’d she do it?” “So selfish.” ” Who found him?” “Are you going to the wake?”, I salute you. Because truly that was enough to send anyone over the edge. So yes I will look at my forearm and see this experiences. But I will also see the warrior of a grandmother I had and the souls of those who lost their fight to mental illness. And anytime someone asks me what the ribbons stand for, I will tell them and hope that they too feel comfort from those that understand the issues.
As for my foot tattoo( my last name in script, with a green ribbon as the I), that one is for me. Yes I remember my last name and yes I plan on taking the name of my husband someday, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be proud. For 24 years I have been a McQuide. Just because someday I’ll get married and have a different name, doesn’t mean I lose my Irish identity. The ribbon is to show that I suffer from depression. Why it may not be picture perfect for most, it’s a part of me. Why should I be ashamed? I know it is only a part of me and having this tattoo does not make me believe that I’m only mentally ill. It simply reminds me to carry on each day. That a happy life is possible.
Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all.-Bill Clinton