We all commemorate major milestones or events in our lives in different ways. Some people buy themselves something material, others go on vacations, I get tattoos. Why tattoos? For starters, because I enjoy getting them. They actually relax me and I feel a sense of relief during the process. I’m sure this could bring on an entirely different conversation but we will have to save that one for later. Next, because they are beautiful and they are permanent. For years I could never make any major decision by myself, I would always rely on someone else to make it for me. When I got my first tattoo I was 20 and I had decided to move to Seattle, on my own, to pursue an acting career. I remember holding my best friends hands ready for the unending pain. After his first line I opened my eyes, looked at her and said “That's it?”. I then realized that what I was so scared of was nothing and I had the strength to do what I wanted. Lastly, it shows me that I have lived. I currently have nine, each and every one has a story and each and every one I still love to this day.
The tattoo I added just a couple of weeks ago is probably the one that means the most to me personally, next to the one I have in tribute of my Grandmother who passed away 10 years ago. It is a cherry blossom tree that goes halfway up my right arm and onto my upper back. Its strong, its soft, its feminine, it's bold, its me. As with most tattoos I get the question, “Why a cherry blossom tree?” and I will answer that question but first a little back ground.
2 years ago this June I did one of the hardest things I have ever had to do so far. I asked my husband for a divorce. To be honest I don't think I will ever forget that night, how I was feeling, how we both reacted, how before I even talked to him I kissed my son goodnight and whispered “I'm sorry” into his hair. But I never questioned once if this was the right thing for all of us.
Before that day I had really begun to embrace and pursue who I am as a woman and who I am as a business owner, not just as a mother and a wife. That journey presented some game changing opportunities and people that I will always be grateful for. But it also came with tears, questions, and fear. There are few things scarier than going for something that is against your original make up, or something that is deemed “untraditional”. But the more I took steps toward that “untraditional” path, the more I knew it was for me. After that day, my journey continued as did the moments of tears, questions, and fears, but my feeling of knowing I was where I needed to be grew.
The significance of the cherry blossom tree, in Japanese culture, goes back hundreds of years. In Japan, the cherry blossom represents the fragility and the beauty of life. In China, cherry blossoms hold elevated status, signifying love and the female mystique (beauty, strength and sexuality). It is also tied to the Buddhist themes of mortality, mindfulness and living in the present. To me that not only sums up what I have discovered so far in my journey but also serves as a reminder of who I am and what I am capable of accomplishing.
Why am I telling you all of this? To remind you that though the unknown is scary, it can be known. That asking for what you want is necessary, being “selfish” is a requirement, and at the end of the day, this is your journey, and your journey alone, but that doesn't mean you are alone. Be present. Be fragile. Be strong. Be mindful. Be you. Be willing to do the hard things that are necessary to position yourself to achieve the highest version of yourself. And when you reach a milestone, celebrate. Each day, I look in the mirror and see the beautiful cherry blossom tree that adorns my arm and I am inspired and empowered and proud of who I have been brave enough to become.