She was always there for me.
This little voice that penetrated every depth in my soul as if she knew exactly what I wanted to do next.
For me being a skinny model was never in the cards. I came from a big family that has always been heavy or "big boned" as some would say. My father was 6'1 450lbs and my mother was 5'2 and just a bit thick. As luck would have it I inherited my fathers genes. I grew big and fast. In one year when I was only 10 I went from 5'4 to 5'10. That doesn't seem like a lot but trust me at 10 it is. The rest of my years growing would be an uphill battle. Not only was I tall but I was thick. I didn't have a butt, however, I had what I later learned was referred to as baby bearing hips. Wide ones. By the time I was in high school I was 6'1 and around 200-215lbs. I was active in sports and played basketball and did weight lifting. You would think that a girl with my height and my athletic build would be pretty fit but when I did the whole BMI thing I found that by being just 1lb over my weight limit for my height I was considered morbidly obese. Those words cut through me like a hot knife through butter. Me? The girl who was always active and always playing sports, morbidly obese!? Wow!
The tattoo titled “Phoenix” was inspired by an autobiographical piece called “Stand In Your Body” which conveys empowerment, vulnerability, and a graceful strength that only women can have to directly contrast the two archetypes of the "delicate flower" and the "sex symbol". The chakra watercolors represent "Stand In Your Body". Highly saturated colors create a backdrop for white hibiscus flowers which represent the beauty in rebirth and the scent used to nurture femininity and healing from sexual assault.
It is hard for one to speak about the darkest moments in their lives. There is a raw, emotional and mental drainage that overwhelms our thoughts. However, I have been silent for years about the trauma I have endured. I think the biggest fear is that no one will understand why I never spoke up and when I did, why did it take so long? Again, understanding is not what one is looking for when they share their experiences; they are simply looking to share their story. So here is mine:
In my tiniest tattoo lies the one with the most powerful meaning for me. It’s also the body art that is most ridiculed or questioned. It isn't the most expertly done one either. Fuego (Fire in Spanish) tattooed in my cursive handwriting. I never thought I’d get a word tattooed on my body. As a writer, for some reason I never wanted to mark my skin with words. I wanted to decorate it with art.
Hanging out with friends seemed pretty normal for me in high school. Slumber parties, BBQ gathers, Pool parties were quite fun for me. That all changed after February 11th 2016...
Excruciating mensuration pains kept me in bed all day Saturday. Sweating, crying and deep guttural moaning. It feels good to bleed 🩸 but the pain is immense. I love being connected with my body and allowing it the natural courses it needs to take, especially when it forces me to be present with my pain, looking it in the eye and feeling every inch of visceral shedding. When I can I avoid pain killers so I can support every part of myself, especially with pain. Pain is important, its designed in our bodies for a a reason. Living in a society that runs from pain is toxic and unnatural, numbing us to the sensations of life. Without pain what do we have to compare it to when we want joy? I am grateful to my body for supporting and holding me together (literally), for taking me places and for growing with me as I journey through life. For communicating to me the things I need, even when I don’t always listen.
She said no, but you still grabbed her hand. She said no, but you still hugged her. She said no, but you still kissed her. She said no, but you still didn't listen.
I was 18 years old during the summer of 2009. My family and I were off to Disneyland for a week-long vacation. I had a lot of fun throughout the week until the very last night. I was on my way to the hotel room after having a smoke. I had just come out of the elevator when someone approached me. He was wearing a solid white cook uniform and he rushed up to me to ask if I wanted to drink that night. I figured I might as well get drunk since it is the last night.
Sometimes the things that are the hardest to talk about are the most important conversations for us to have. Unsurprisingly, cancer is one of those often-avoided topics. Discussions about cancer can be uncomfortable, unsettling, or sad. However, sharing information, offering support, and promoting community make these conversations invaluable.
November of 2008, Thanksgiving day rolled around, which also happened to be my 18th birthday. No party. No special plans. No company even. My friends were away with family for the holiday. Dinner at my house wasn’t anything too special. I finished my plate of the typical, traditional food, and locked myself in my bedroom for the night.
Trigger Warning: This story contains contents that may trigger others from past trauma.
To be vulnerable is to trust and trusting others is my weakest spot of my heart. However, in time life has changed me in ways that help my experience become more 'explainable.'