I completed a work report, and took a break from behavior shaping to surf the Internet. I love the fact that I can get on the computer and look up anything my heart desires (this is also the downfall of the Internet)...
I know that my third and final tattoo (and another project) will be a Japanese Cherry Blossom branch. I came across a picture of the tattoo a while back, and I knew that would be my final tattoo. I want it to spread across a corner of my back, and I love the contrast of deep colors.
I decided to look up the meaning of the tattoo. I know that the last thing anyone wants is to permanently ink themselves with something unless they know the meaning. I dodged the bullet of not adding someone's name to the tattoos, so at least I was smart in that area.
I came across an absolutely fantastic site that listed the history of the Japanese Cherry Blossom tattoo. The story is that it was a common symbol of the Samurai. I never considered myself even the faintest warrior... until a few years ago...
There was a passage on the site that caught my attention, and it's been on my mind all day:
"not being fully prepared to die was something that was considered a restraint when it came to living life to the fullest."
I had to read it again to make sure I wasn't making this up. Whoever wrote this was a fantastic writer, and quite an inspiration.
When I pondered this quote for a while, I realized the tattoo was perfect for me. All I've been trying to do for this past year (and really for the past few years) is to embrace each moment and live life to the fullest. After all the grief and illness, I was tired of being at someone else's will. I was tired of imagining life pass me by.
The key to all of this is to be content with one's life. If I am not content with where I am at as far as relationships go, then I am not ready to die. So, for all of the people I have dealt with, it would mean examining my relationships, saying what I need to say, and knowing that everything is at peace. This is easier said than done, because we all seem to have at least a few people that we wish we had said or done something differently. When looking at the passage above, I am seeing that I cannot have regrets. And if things didn't go the way I would like, I need to make peace and move on.
I began thinking of basic interactions over the past few years. I wish I told my ex-husband that he is no longer in control of my existence, but that I wish him well. I wish he knew what incredibly awesome children we have, and I am blessed to spend all my days with them.
I want to thank Tom for departing from my life. No one wants a breakup, but I wasn't prepared for what was coming around the corner. It's strange that we haven't talked since the breakup, and I guess it seems even stranger that I want to thank him. Without Tom, there most certainly wouldn't have been a Jeremy. That sounds absolutely ridiculous, but entirely true.
I know I need to sit and talk with my parents. I need to tell them how absolutely in awe of them and how they are able to support me so much. They have an incredible amount of love for me and the kids, and they have shown it in their support of me, and of the time they spend with the children. I am amazed at all they have accomplished, and how many people they love and that love them dearly. They are really an inspiration of how I would like my life to be. They are the relationship I hope to establish, and they are the parents I have been striving to become. I am blessed to be back in their home (though I know it can be stressful at times).
Taking a step out on the edge and appreciating the adventure of danger is exciting when you think of all you are sacrificing- all that you are leaving behind. It takes incredible peace to prepare for battle and know that you are ready to die at this very moment. That you have made peace with your life, and there are no regrets.
I want to be there. I want to be at the point in my life where I am settled in everything I do, where I am honest and intimate with the people around me, and where I am free to share what I feel and free to make goals and go out there and live. I feel like I have had a good start living, but that it's taking a bit of time to get into the swing of things.
I received an email from my friend, Robin, this morning. It said something very simple: "Don't stoop!" I sent her back an email telling her that I was happy with where I was in life, and with who I was with. I told her I was thrilled to have met someone that I can talk to for hours on end, someone that shares the same core values and goals, and someone that I am attracted to as well (it's hard to find all of those things in one person!).
Her response: "I meant don't stoop down! I notice whenever you aren't dating people that are super tall, I see you stooping down."
Oh... I thought it was some sort of metaphorical stooping, and really I just have bad posture. I was the tallest girl in sixth grade (I grew six inches in two months), and spent many months being gawked at. I never really grew comfortable being around people of my own height. Well, I WAS becoming comfortable until she went and said that...
That defense I gave her did make me realize that I am happy where I am at in regards to my romantic relationship. I can say I would go to battle being content with how things have turned out in this respect (even though it really hasn't been a long stretch of time yet). Well, perhaps I would tell him how special he really is, and that I have seen what's out there and I am glad he chose me. I would tell him that I appreciate all of his kind words, and of the time he spends in the day concerned with how I am and what I am doing. I would definitely tell him that there are times when I know that things are really "good" in life, and that I can say that about my time with him now. (It's kinda easier to write this than to say it aloud. He also knows this and has tricked me into saying things like this anyway...) Whatever aligned in the cosmos to make our initial encounter happen, for that moment I will always be grateful.
When it comes to my children, I would easily say I would die for them. I would gladly go through a miserable death to make sure they had life. They make my life such a joy, and I am proud to be their mother, and to accompany them on this journey. I am thrilled to wake up each day and spend it with them, even when I am exhausted and may not have the most patience. I know they love me, because we exchange "I Love You's" often, but I hope that one day they really appreciate what this love means.
In my work, I have agreed to defend the students that others couldn't handle. I am not saying this to be mean--I am saying that I chose the students that were less than ideal. They are not easily taught, or they have behaviors that are not readily controlled in the regular classroom. I decided that I wanted to "solve the puzzle," and see what I can do to make them tick. I have days where I drive home wondering what I was thinking, but I realize that my job has been so rewarding, even when I was dealing with the stresses of the attack. I am able to build relationships with students, to help them deal with life's major decisions, and to almost "raise them." I have a great deal of influence on them, since they see me for a large portion of the day. I am glad that we can discuss important issues, and that I can be there to talk with them about what is on their mind. I know people become teachers to "make a difference," but I also know that many people have an ego and believe they can change the world. I just want to leave an impression on each of my students. I want them to leave my classroom and their time with me changed. I want them to look at the world with a little more wonder, and to reach outside of their comfort zone and take chances. I guess to make great social change, this was the best career move.
When I think about those words about the Samurai, and realize that my life really is in order, I can see that this project has given me the ultimate reward: I have figured out that I have my life figured out. I still have many mysteries to solve, and many places to visit, but I know that I am content in where I am at. I have said my piece to my family, I have loved my children fiercely, and I am attempting to tear down the giant concrete wall that surrounds my heart and let someone in. I don't know many people out there that can say this, and to me that is an ultimate birthday present and end to this project.
And the tattoo? That's part of my NEXT project (and blog!).