And then I said no

I’m getting a back tattoo done at the moment, two colourful snakes wrapping around my spine.
And yes I know, once lockdown lifted I went a bit mad (I also got a wrist tattoo I wrote about).
I had already had one session to do the outline, and was back to get the snakes coloured in.
As painful as the process is, I always seem to forget about that part, and look ahead to the therapeutic aspect of the session.

But this time, I wasn’t as excited as usual.
To be honest, I had nearly forgotten about my appointment.

I’ve been having trouble sleeping this week.
It sounds more dramatic than it is, but my grandmother passed a few days ago.
I barely knew her, and have no memories of her at all. But I do worry about my mother.
I only have one grandparent left, my mother’s father. She hasn’t spoken to either in years.
As complicated as my relationships with my parents is, I know hers was ten times worse.
My heart hurts for the note they have left things on, and the finality of it all.
My heart hurts for my own mother and the note we left things on (even if I cannot admit it aloud).

I feel horribly guilty for not being there to parent my parents,
and I feel horribly guilty for wanting to.

Usually, a good journalling session gets my head sorted right away.
If not that, then a proper chat with a friend, some doodling, some cuddling with my rats.
But the matter has been robbing me of sleep.
So when my tattoo appointment came around, I was close to falling asleep.
After we had lunch halfway through, the pain was suddenly unbearable.

One snake had been finished,
the other scarcely started.
I couldn’t stop the pain for my mother,
but I could stop this pain right now.

At the time I was ashamed to stop the session right then, but now I’m proud.
I had never had to finish a session early, and am quite good with pain.
But I was tired, both physically and mentally, and I needed a break.
So I gave it to myself!
Yes, I did have to pay for the unused hour, and will have to pay for the hour next month to finish my back tattoo. But sometimes worth isn’t measured in money, but in sleep gained.
And I did sleep marvellously that night.

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