Content warning: The following story contains references to drug use and anxiety, which may be triggering for some readers.
"Breathe. That's all. Just Breathe." Jessica Barrows
I had finally ended a relationship that let's be honest, hadn't been working from the start. Although I was sure I wanted this relationship to end, my now ex-girlfriend still didn’t have a place to stay, and I still had a heart so I wanted her to be able to sort out her living situation before asking her to leave. I was gearing up for my transition from county college to a 4-year-school, and as a high school drop out this was going to be a huge change for me.
I was in the scheme of things, recently off of heroin, and still adapting to getting through life without an easy coping mechanism. I had also moved away from my friends a couple of years back, and as an introvert, was still trying to find my way and find people near me that I could connect with. Life was changing, and I was happy about that, but my anxiety was at an all time high. I remember this point in my life as the time I was most anxious, and remember even getting physically sick as a result.
My ex-girlfriend living with me was extremely anxiety-provoking and I tried to avoid home as much as possible. There I would go for a drive just to get out. I was in therapy, and this helped immensely. We would discuss anxiety reducing techniques, but for me, none of them ever stuck. Self-talk, while helpful, was never something I in-the-moment would actually do. I began using breathing as a simple tool to calm myself down, and found it to be the most effective thing I have done to date.
I decided to get “Breathe” tattooed on my wrist as a simple and everyday reminder to do so. Breathe. That’s all. Just breathe. It’s a simple word, but at times can be difficult to do. I get overwhelmed easily, and struggle with making decisions at times. In such a difficult transition period for myself, I found difficulty in doing the simplest of things.
Before everything, breathe. Before deciding, breathe.
While life is not nearly as chaotic, and I have grown so much, I know that anxiety will always be something I struggle with. This tattoo continues to serve as a reminder to always just breathe.
Tattoosday is way to demonstrate the storytelling quality of tattoos as well as the healing quality of tattoos.
If you would like to share the stories behind your ink, send us a picture of a tattoo or tattoos that have a significant story tied to your survival in life. Then write at least 400 words (you can write as many as you'd like) about the tattoo, it's meaning, and what it means to you today.
These stories will all run on Tuesdays!
One per week! So you have plenty of time to submit them to us!
The caveat with TATTOOSDAY is that we will not be making you a free piece of art, instead, your ink IS the art we will share with the story—which makes the most sense. BUT we will send you some stickers for sharing your story with us!