Posted in Being Vulnerable

Journal 14

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.

Life happens.

So 2014 became a milestone for me after that.

A milestone that says, life is precious.

Remember it.

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.

-B. Ray

Posted in Being Vulnerable

Journal 11

I get it now.

The drinking

The writing

The addiction

It feels good to write intoxicated.

I feel free

Uninhibited

And yet I’m lucky

I don’t have the addiction bug

Like my father

Like my brother

Like all the men in my family

Is it a man thing?

I don’t know

But I’m lucky

I know when to stop

Thank god

Or the devil

For skipping me

I appreciate it.

Posted in Being Vulnerable

Water colour tattoo

It was worth it.

A tad more painful than I anticipated

But this girl didn’t budge

Because I don’t squirm under pain

I fuckin thrive yo

Nah I just visualized the pain

Until it became apart of me

I am the pain

Ya suck on that wisdom!

K

bye

Posted in Being Vulnerable

Journal 9

I’m getting a new tattoo tomorrow.

Water color.

It’s my first big color tattoo.

I’m a bit nervous I’ll hate it.

The tattooer sent me her sketch and I hated it.

But I didn’t tell her I did.

I told her the things I liked about it and the things I liked about my inspiration picture I sent her and asked if it’s doable to implement those specific likes.

She said she’ll be free handing it and yes it’s easy to implement.

I responded, I trust you.

But fuck I’m nervous.

But I’ve seen her portfolio.

I like her work.

I really do.

So I know it won’t be shit.

But trust, man.

That’s hard for me.

I’m controlling at best.

More leaning ocd.

I waver between impulsive and compulsive on the daily.

So for her to say she’ll freehand it

Is like me saying let me just eat everything in the kitchen and see if I get fat.

It’s insane to me.

Yet, I’m attracted to it.

I want it.

I want to be open to trust.

To releasing my control.

I want to be free to receive her art.

So

Pray for me

Or

Whatever

Because I’m about to pay almost $1,000 for freedom.

Posted in My Poetry

Write about your tattoos

The ink is my memory
My reach into the past
Each line is like a hand I can't help but take
The escape is so real
One more hit, one more feel
You'll understand if you get one
It will make you come undone
The addiction tastes warm
Like crawling back into your mother's womb
It eases me
And when it is finished, I get to see my heart beat hung on my skin
Knowing nothing is akin
I am unique, regardless of what you say
And I will continue this investment of art until every dollar is paid