“Brit Grah! I’d forgotten what fine sport you mortals can provide!” Fellow Elder Scroll fans– ring a bell? This is the response from Mirmulnir, one of the dragons you fight in Skyrim. It is also here where you discover that you, a lowly escaped prisoner (because of course) are actually the Last Dragonborn (because double of course). What was it last time? With the Daedra? Wait a minute. This doesn’t look like Paradise to me. Where’s the strawberry daiquiris and cute pool boys, yo?! >.>
Well, I’ve not been elected the seventh Champion of Cyrodill, but I did roll sevens yesterday and didn’t die of dysentery. That’s how it works, right?* Okay, maybe not, but I did get my seventh tattoo.
It’s been two years since I got my last tattoo, so I’ve been antsy. Seeing as how I start DBT soon, (6 days, 02 hours, 15 minutes– but who’s counting?)** I felt it only appropriate to document the occasion. I’ve wanted a semi-colon tattoo for a while now, and it’s held a firm place as next in queue. So when word got out that the founder of the movement, Amy Bleuel, had taken her life at the ripe age of 31, I took to the drawing board. After a night of introspective surrender, the idea came to me. I made a note to remind myself to contact the artist who did my last two. A 100 mile round trip drive for half an hour’s worth of work was hard to justify, but this was going to be on my body literally forever.
Yesterday during my last appointment with my current therapist, we discussed my need to work on my impulsive behaviors. 4 hours later I was standing at the counter of the tattoo shop down the road from my house, talking to a guy named Beau with a piercing in his eyebrow and a sucker in his mouth. I pulled up the design on my phone to show him, mumbling just above my breath my justifications and reasoning, as if he hadn’t probably just had a request to tattoo a Hatchet Man or something equally stupid on someone’s left ass cheek twice within the last week. “I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the semi-colon project, or…” He said he was, and then asked when I wanted to do it. “Umm, right now?” I felt my throat constrict around my words, waiting for him to laugh at me- to tell me that it would be at least another two weeks before they could pencil me in and wondering what unspeakable acts I’d have to resort to in order to get it done right then and there. Like crying…
“Sure. Come on back and we’ll get it drawn up and fill out some paper work.”
Half an hour later, I was on the verge of tears after all. Happy ones…
Before I got in the chair, I wasn’t more specific than “left forearm” as far as placement goes. Either the artist read my mind or was able to put two and two together, because he hovered his finger just over the most prominent of my self harm scars: we thinking right here? I felt the tips of my ears burn hot with embarrassment as I nonchalantly agreed. He set up his station in silence, and I took the burning smell of the cool alcohol wipe as good assurance that if not a well-done tattoo, I would at least leave dysentery-free (hopefully!) It wasn’t until he was about halfway done that he asked the inevitable question I hadn’t realized I’ll be answering for years to come. “What’s brit grah mean?”
I sucked in a breath, ready to word vomit about how I was recently diagnosed as Borderline, and that I was starting DBT in a week and really needed this reminder that my entire life has been a battle, but it’s been a beautiful one. And that I have a pretty good track record for surviving catacalysmic psychological stressors and attacks on my psyche, so this and whatever else to come should be no different. And about how I simply cannot explain why I’d use a symbol that screams “I self harm” to cover a self harm scar, or why I’d use Dovah-Zul (Dragon Voice, for you non-nerds) instead of something classy like Latin, or Kanji (outside of having both already). But that I’m trying to build a sense of identity, and being a chronically unstable miscreant/mental-health advocate/weirdo who revels in fantasy worlds pretty much sums it up. And that I’m tired of hiding, and I’ve made it my life’s mission to bring an end to the stigma (and also pants, but story for another day).
But it was evident as I watched him fill in the “g” that he’d finish before I would, and I was used enough to that kind of disappointment, thank you very much. So instead I settled for the abridged version: “It’s ‘a beautiful battle’.”
And it really is…
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*I’ve actually never played D&D, because that involves having actual people as friends, which I don’t, and putting on pants, which I also don’t. (I thought you said this was a dungeon party!) I’ve also never played Oregon Trail, but we’ve covered that already back when I was talking about thumbs and butt plugs.