You wonder why I get them.
You don’t understand the ink.
Or the addiction.
So let me explain it for you.
This tattoo in the picture is for my Grammy.
She died in 2014.
It broke me.
I had never experienced loss in such a real way like that before.
I was 21.
Living a life for my dad.
A life of fear, resentment, and high expectation
But all of that changed with this phone call.
“Brooke, Grammy had a stroke at church. She’s in the hospital.”
I responded, “hmm”
“What do I say to that” I asked myself?
Because I couldn’t understand.
I just saw her three months ago.
She was outside raking the leaves.
She was fine then.
Yet now she was hanging by a thread in a hospital all the way in Texas while I was in California?
God just simply claimed her without warning?
I wasn’t given notice?
I felt like a computer giving the circle of death.
I could not compute.
So I put it in a box.
I stored those unprocessed feelings away and decided to continue with my studies.
Understand up until this point, no one important in my life had died before.
Also, I was mocked by my father at a young age for my emotion so I thought bottling it up was the way to live your life.
Fake it till you make it, they say.
So I faked it.
Until I got the next call.
She was dying.
“We’re about to pull the plug, Brooke. Any last words?”
Um how about, “Why did you kill my hero, God?”
Why did you kill the one spark of joy in our family?
She was raspberries in the summer.
And hummingbirds in spring.
She was joy.
And now she was dead.
So I did what any young adult would do.
I fucked the world.
I said, “Fuck religion. Fuck god. Fuck my studies.”
Nothing matters if he’ll just kill the most religious person in your life in fucking church for Christ sakes!
So I fucked everyone.
I swiped right all the way to hell.
I was numb to everything for a year after her death.
Yet somehow my friend Bryan pulled me out.
He took me on a walk and said, “This isn’t you.”
And by that point I knew he was right.
I couldn’t fuck the grief out of me.
I had to face it.
She was gone.
And it wasn’t god’s fault.
It was just life.
So 2014 became a milestone for me after that.
A milestone that says, life is precious.
And when I remember her, I think of hummingbirds.
So that’s why I get tattoos, mom.
Because I want to remember my trauma and salute it for its ability to change me.
I love you.