In my late teens I decided I want to rebel. In the mildest manner possible. I was never one for starting a revolution, but I wanted to do the things my parents didn’t want me to do. So I took up smoking, drank heavily on a Friday night, got the top of my ear pierced (I wanted to get my nose done to really piss my dad off but I chickened out!), I occasionally inhaled (ahem!) and I got a tattoo. A tiny star at the top of my arm. The star was taken from the front of a friend’s wallet. I walked into a tattoo shop on Union Street, Plymouth, told them want I wanted and got it done there and then. It cost me a fiver. It wasn’t anything special to anyone else, but to me it ticked a box and actually I really loved it. It’s not the neatest work I’ve ever seen, but do you know, I had it done with all my heart and therefore I’ve never wanted to change it. I also didn’t want another one. It served it’s purpose, I’d been there, done that, so to speak.
Although actually that’s a bit of a lie. I have always thought about having another one. I saw other people’s and admired their creativity and courage. But I was looking for something small, nothing fancy. No names, no frills and flounces. Something that meant something, but nothing too painful. I couldn’t find anything that ticked all those boxes, and I was in no rush, so I let the idea go.
Then I had a baby and pain took on a new level of meaning. Pah! I’ve had my entire abdomen cut in two and a person removed. I got over that! What’s a tattoo compared to getting off the bed after a C-section? But I still couldn’t find anything I liked. I played with the idea of having something designed. Something with more stars (I love stars), possibly intertwined stars? Three intertwined stars to represent me, Ben and Oscar? Hmmm. Maybe. But it did get me thinking about the concept of family. My family. And that got me thinking about who I was now, what that meant and about my place in the scheme of things.
And then I realised, that no matter what happens in life, it will never be just me, ever again. Even if my family were to leave me, in any way, I will never just be me again, because I have given birth.
I will always be, regardless of what happens, Me and …….
And that’s when I realised what I had to have.