Stranger: “It’s your birthday? What are you wishing for?”
Me: “I don’t know. Maybe to finally get the tattoo that I want?”
Stranger: “Oh, what tattoo do you want?”
Me: “An awareness ribbon with butterfly wings.”
Stranger: “I get the awareness ribbon, but why the butterfly wings?”
Me: “Butterfly wings usually represent rebirth, new life, change, and transformation.”
Stranger: “So, let me guess, you overcame some adversity?”
Me: “Something like that hahaha.”
I laughed it off because I had no desire to explain further. I did not want to explain that the awareness ribbon I wanted to get would be half-yellow and half-orange because those are the colors of self-harm awareness and suicide prevention. I did not want to explain the butterfly wings as representative of overcoming self-harm and surviving suicide.
“Adversity”? Accurate, but my god, what an understatement. I overcame years of severe depression. I have self-harm scars and mental scars (from all the thoughts of suicide plans).
I want this tattoo to remind myself of where I’ve been and of how far I’ve come. I want the world to see that I am one of so many survivors, and you would not think it just by looking at my face. I want a permanent mark on my skin that will last long after all those self-harm scars have faded.
I want a reminder to myself that my story still has a long way to go.