revolution

Elements of Self

elements of self_big

by  from Twin Cites, USA in Health Tuesday, August 7, 2012

picture by Glen Scott

 

Your style does not define you. Not alone. People look at you every day, whether you want them to or not, and the choices you make about clothing and grooming and accessories contribute to the overall impression you give. You can tell the world about your favorite colors and textures, about your favorite era in history, about your favorite aspects of your figure through the dressing choices you make. What you wear contributes to the first level of your public identity, and you can exercise some measure of control over that identity. But you are more than just your style.

Your body does not define you. Not alone. Your height and weight may provide information about your genetic makeup, and your proportions may convey information about the center of your physical power, and your hair and eye color may tell stories about your ancestry. But you are more than just your body.

Your smarts, your personality, and your life experiences do not define you. Not alone. What you believe and the relationships you forge and the places you’ve been shape your essential self, and the thoughts you think and decisions you make guide you. But you are more than just your smarts, personality, and life experiences.

It took me a long time to accept and embrace that last one because I felt that my smarts, personality, and life experiences WERE me. Everything else was just trappings, storage, miscellany. I kept my brain inside my body for safekeeping, and dressed my body to keep it warm and dry. But the real me had nothing to do with the physical world. The real me was ephemeral, lofty, philosophical, and intellectual. My body was merely a vessel.

When I began to accept that my body was as essential to my true self as my intellect and temperament, I accessed a whole new level of self-acceptance. My body had always been a second-class citizen, and I’d scorned it and treated it badly. Welcoming it into the fold and assimilating it into my concept of self meant that I wanted to care for, nourish, groom, pamper, and maintain it in ways I’d never wanted to before. I wanted to keep it strong and healthy, clean and in good working order. I wanted to adorn it with pride as an expression of my respect. I wanted to be as proud of my body as I’d always been of my disposition and intellect. I truly felt more whole.

In my opinion, no person can be defined simply. Everything about us is interconnected, and embracing that interconnectedness helps us to flourish. Don’t let your body or style or personality become the tyrant of your sense of self. All three contribute, all three deserve your attention, and all three make you who you are.

ARTICLE
GROOMING
PERSONALITY
SELF ESTEEM
SELF-CARE
SELF-LOVE
STYLE

Sally McGraw

Sally McGraw is a Minneapolis-based blogger, freelance writer, and teacher. In addition to writing her popular daily style and body image blog, Already Pretty, she is an ongoing contributor to the Minneapolis StarTribune and offers style consultation services – both in person for clients living in the Twin Cities, and via e-mail for clients worldwide.

truly comfortable

one who shares her spirit

Great Spirit, I am Mother. I was made by You so that the image of your love could be brought into existence. May I always carry with me the sacredness of this honor.

Creator, I am Daughter. I am the learner of the Traditions. May I carry them forward so that the Elders and Ancestors will be remembered for all time.

Maker-Of-All-Things, I am Sister. Through me, may my brothers be shown the manner in which I am to be respected. May I join with my sisters in strength and power as a Healing Shield so that they will no longer bear the stain of abuse.

Niskam, I am Committed Partner: one who shares her spirit,
but is wise to remember never to give it away, lest it become lost, and the two become less than one.

I am Woman. Hear me. Welal’in. Ta’ho!

—Mi’kmaq Prayer #WomenWednesday

sometimes a heavy heart but still finding the beauty of my own heart

Lately,

I’ve been feeling a lot of anger at the injustices I see in this world; disregard of women & girls’ fundamental rights over their bodies, the out of control greed by corporations, politicians that seem to only care about the status quo, the abuse and neglect of children, indigenous people, animals, this earth,…I can make a very long list of the the things that enrage me and sadden me about this world. I am becoming more outspoken about these injustices, but I can also feel overwhelmed.

So today I am focusing on those people and organizations that are defending the innocent, standing up for human rights & animals rights. I would like to give a big shout out to and express my deepest gratitude and love for all the courageous people that stand up and speak out. To those that listen to the truth of their heart…lately I feel as though I am finding the beauty of my heart.

So there are many people and organizations to thank

Hendrick Boards, A Loving Goodbye.org, opt4.wordpress.com, LuckyPupRescue, RockTheSlutVote, Aisfor.org., PawInHandUnitedWeStand.org, Upworthy.com, AwakeningTruth.org, The AgendaProject on Facebook, Eleventh HOur Rescue-on Facebook-rescuing animals on death row,  Jezebel.com, Naomi Wolf, Thefeministwire.com, buddhistGeeks.com, TheIdproject.org, Againstthestream.org,MindBodyAwarenessProject, LetsSpreadcompassion.wordpress.com, Resurection.wordpress.com and I know there are more…. this is the beginning of my list.

 

10 Reasons the Rest of the World Thinks the U.S. Is Nuts

  • Soraya Chemaly

Feminist, Satirist, and Media Critic

GET UPDATES FROM SORAYA CHEMALY

10 Reasons the Rest of the World Thinks the U.S. Is Nuts
Posted: 03/15/2012 5:47 pm

 

This week the Georgia State Legislature debated a bill in the House that would make it necessary for some women to carry stillborn or dying fetuses until they “naturally” go into labor. In arguing for this bill Representative Terry England described his empathy for pregnant cows and pigs in the same situation.

I have a question for Terry England, Sam Brownback, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and too many others: I have three daughters, two of them twins. If one of my twins had been stillborn would you have made me carry her to term, thereby endangering both the other twin and me? Or, would you have insisted that the state order a mandatory fetal extraction of the living twin fetus from my womb so that I could continue to carry the stillborn one to term and possibly die myself? My family is curious and since you believe my uterus is your public property, I am, too.

Mr. England, unlike the calves and pigs for which you expressed so much empathy, I am not a beast of burden. I am a woman and I have these human rights:

The right to life.
The right to privacy.
The right to freedom.
The right to bodily integrity.
The right to decide when and how I reproduce.

Mr. England, you and your friends do not get to trade these rights, while “dog and hog hunting,” in return for a young man’s chickens.

My human rights outweigh any you or the state corruptly and cynically seek to assign to a mass of dividing cells that will eventually turn into a “natural” person. Personhood-for-zygote based bills and related legislation, like Georgia’s and hundreds of others, bills and laws that criminalize pregnancy and abortion and penalize women for being women, violate my human rights.

Just because you cannot get pregnant does not mean I cannot think clearly, ethically, morally, rationally about my body, human life or the consequences of my actions. Just because you cannot get pregnant does not mean that I do not have rights when I am pregnant. I have responsibility but am powerless. You have power but are irresponsible with my rights.

By not trusting me, you force me to trust you. And YOU are not trustworthy.

I gestate humans, you do not. I know how it feels to be pregnant. You do not. I know what happens to a fetus in a womb. You do not. I have carried three fetuses to term. You have not. What I experience when I am pregnant is not empathy. It is permeability. The fetus is me. And the state is you, apparently. But, no matter what you say or do I have fundamental human rights. What makes you think that you, who cannot have this fully human experience, can tell me anything about gestation or how I experience it? Especially when you compare my existence and experience to that of brutish animals.

The rest of the civilized world thinks this country has lost its mind. It’s no wonder. Look at this list of frenzied misogyny:

1. Making women carry still-born fetuses to full term because cows and pigs do. This week, Mr England, you supported a bill, the net effect of which, taken tandem with other restrictions, will result in doctors and women being unable to make private, medically-based, critical care decisions and some women being effectively forced to carry their dead or dying fetuses. Women are different from farm animals, Mr. England, and this bill, requiring a woman to carry a dead or dying fetus is inhumane and unethical. By forcing a woman to do this, you are violating her right not to be subjected to inhuman treatment and tortured. And, yes, involuntarily carrying a dead fetus to term, although not torture to you or to a pig, is torture for a woman. It is also a violation of her bodily integrity and a threat to her life and as such, violates her right to life.

2. Consigning women to death to save a fetus. Abortions save women’s lives. “Let women die” bills are happening all over the country. There is no simple or pretty way to put this. Every day, all over the world, women die because they do not have access to safe abortions. Yet, here we are, returning to the dark ages of maternal sacrifice. Do really have to type this sentence: this is a violation of women’s fundamental right to life.

3. Criminalizing pregnancy and miscarriages and arresting, imprisoning and charging women who miscarry with murder, like Rennie Gibbs in Mississippi or at least 40 other similar cases in Alabama or like Bei Bei Shuai, a woman who is now imprisoned, is charged with murder after trying to commit suicide while pregnant. Pregnant women are becoming a special class subject to “special” laws that infringe on their fundamental rights.

4. Forcing women to undergo involuntary vaginal penetration (otherwise called rape) with a condom-covered, six- to eight-inch ultrasound probePennsylvania is currently considering that option along with 11 other states. Trans-vaginal ultrasounds undertaken without a woman’s consent are rape according to the legal definition of the word. This violates a woman’s bodily integrity and also constitutes torture when used, as states are suggesting, as a form of control and oppression. Women have the right not to be raped by the state.

5. Disabling women or sacrificing their lives by either withholding medical treatment or forcing women to undergo involuntary medical procedures. We impose an unequal obligation on women to sacrifice their bodily integrity for another. For example, as in Tysiac v. Poland, in which a mother of two, became blind after her doctor refused to perform an abortion that she wanted that would have halted the course of a degenerative eye disease. If my newborn baby is in need of a kidney and you have a spare matching one, can I enact legislation that says the state can take yours and give it to her? No. We do not force people to donate their organs to benefit others, even those who have already been born. One of the most fundamental of all human rights is that humans be treated equally before the law. Denying a woman this right is a violation of her equal right to this protection.

6. Giving zygotes “personhood” rights while systematically stripping women of their fundamental rights. There is too much to say about the danger of personhood ideas creeping into health policy to do it here. But, consider what happens to a woman whose womb is not considered the “best” environment for a gestating fetus in a world of personhood-for-zygote legislation: who decides the best environment — the state, her insurance company, her employer, her rapist who decides he really, really wants to be a father? Anyone but a woman.

7. Inhibiting, humiliating and punishing women for their choices to have an abortion for any reason by levying taxes specifically on abortion, including abortions sought by rape victims to end their involuntary insemination, imposing restrictive requirements like 24 hour wait periods andempowering doctors to lie to female patients about their fetuses in order to avoid prosecution. In Arizona, Kansas, Texas, Virginia, Colorado, Arkansas and other states around the country bills that make women “pay” for their choices are abounding.

8. Allowing employers to delve into women’s private lives and only pay for insurance when they agree, for religious reasons, with how she chooses to use birth control. In Arizona, which introduced such a bill this week, this means covering payment for birth control as a benefit only when a woman has proven that she will not use it to control her own reproduction (i.e., as birth control). As much as I am worried about women and families in Arizona though, I am more worried about those in Alabama. You see, as recently revealed in a public policy poll in Alabama, conservative, evangelicals who support “personhood” related “pro-life” legislation and are fighting for their “religious liberty” — 21 percent think interracial marriage should be illegal. So, what if they decide that an employee involved in an interracial marriage should not, by divine mandate, reproduce? Do they switch and provide birth control for this employee? Do they make contraception a necessary term of employment for people in interracial marriages? This violates a woman’s right to privacy. My womb is one million times more private than your bedrooms, gentlemen.

9. Sacrificing women’s overall health and the well-being of their families in order to stop them from exercising their fundamental human right to control their own bodies and reproduction. Texas just did that when it turned down $35 million dollars in federal funds thereby ensuring that 300,000 low-income and uninsured Texas women will have no or greatly-reduced access to basic preventive and reproductive health care.

10. Depriving women of their ability to earn a living and support themselves and their families. Bills, like this one in Arizona, allow employers to fire women for using contraception. Women like these are being fired for not.

You presume to consign my daughters and yours to function as reproductive animals.

This is about sex and property, not life and morality. Sex because when women have sex and want to control their reproduction that threatens powerful social structures that rely on patriarchal access to and control over women as reproductive engines. Which brings us to property: control of reproduction was vital when the agricultural revolution took place and we, as a species, stopped meandering around plains in search of food. Reproduction and control of it ensured that a man could possess and consolidate wealth-building and food-producing land and then make sure it wasn’t disaggregated by passing it on to one son he knew was his — largely by claiming a woman and her gestation capability as property, too.

This is not about freedom of religion. If it were, we would, for example, allow Christian Scientists to refuse to pay for coverage of life-saving blood transfusions for employees. Religious freedom means I get to choose whether or not to be religious and if so, how. It does not mean that I get to impose my religion on others. Paying for insurance is part of the way we compensate employees, even when they use their insurance in ways we don’t agree with and are in contravention of our own personal beliefs. I think that it is stupid, dangerous and immoral to chain smoke, especially around children whose lungs it irreparably harms. But, I still have to pay for an employee to have access to lung scans, nicotine patches and oxygen tanks. I do not get to say that my religious beliefs, which include keeping bodies as healthy as possible, make it possible for me to withhold payment of this employee’s insurance. Guaranteed coverage of contraception and reproductive health care has overwhelming benefits for society, including reducing unwanted pregnancies and abortions. By inserting your religious beliefs so egregiously into government legislation and my life, you are imposing your religious beliefs on me. You don’t like mandated insurance coverage for basic reproductive health humans with two X chromosomes? I don’t like being bred by state compulsion like Mr. England’s farm animals. I have a MORAL OBJECTION to being treated like an animal and not a human. You do not have to use contraception, you do not have to use birth control.But, that does not mean you have any right to tell me that I cannot if I choose. That is my right.

Property, control, sex, reproduction, morality — defining what is human. Sounds a lot like issues surrounding slavery 170 years ago. It is no surprise that of the 16 states that never repealed their anti-miscegenation laws, but rather had them overturned by the Supreme Court in 1967 more than half have introduced personhood bills. Like anti-miscegentation laws, anti-choice laws and bills that humiliate women, that treat them like beasts, that violate their bodily autonomy, are based on ignorance, entitlement and arrogance. These laws are not about “personhood” but “humanity.” That women of color are massively, disproportionately affected by these assaults on their bodies and rights should also come as no surprise — their rights and their bodies have always been the most vulnerable to assault.

This is about keeping women’s wombs public and in other people’s control — the exact opposite of private and in their own control.

And, yes, I do know how complicated the ethics, bioethics and legal arguments related to these decisions are. You, apparently, do not. If you were truly concerned with sustaining life and improving its quality or in protecting innocent children, you would begin by having compassion and empathy for living, born people that require and deserve your attention. You feed them, educate them, lift them from poverty and misery. You do not compound these problems as you are with twisted interpretations of divine will. Only after that do you have the moral legitimacy to entertain the notion of talking to me about my uterus and what I do with it. By then, fully functional artificial wombs should be available and you can implant your own, since you are so fond of animal analogies, as was completed with this male mouse. What you are doing is disgraceful, hypocritical and morally corrupt.

And, no, I am not crazy. I am angry.

Mr. Santorum, Mr. England and Mr. Brownback and Mr. Perry you should consider not clinging so dangerously and perversely to the Agrarian Revolution ideas. Birth control and safe abortions are life-saving technologies. These archaic bills and laws, wasteful of time, money and lives, obscure an enduring and unchangeable truth: safe and effective family planning is the transformative social justice accomplishment of the 20th century. They will not go away. This is a revolution, too.

In an 1851 speech in which she argued for equal rights for women, Sojourner Truth said the following: “The poor men seems to be all in confusion, and don’t know what to do. Why children, if you have woman’s rights, give it to her and you will feel better. You will have your own rights, and they won’t be so much trouble.”

Do you, Terry England, Sam Brownback, Rick Santorum and friends even know who Sojourner Truth is?

This post has been updated since its original publication.

Follow Soraya Chemaly on Twitter: www.twitter.com/schemaly

a real man

The War on Women: A Progressive Man’s View

April 9, 2012

By 

By Vincent Martin

A (self-admitted) conservative male acquaintance recently asked me what the War on Women means. Herein I will attempt to answer him.

First, let me provide a shortened definition of War: War is an organized, armed, and often a prolonged conflict that is carried on between states, nations, or other partiestypified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality…” For the past ten years or so, there has been a nationwide assault by Right-wing Conservatives in this nation on women’s reproductive health (birth control, abortion, and access those services, etc.) that could certainly fit the definition of War. The political, social, and moral assaults by all strata of conservatism at the federal, state, and local levels of government across the U.S. have been unrelenting in nature and socially disruptive.

This Republican/Conservative sponsored War on Women has reached a fulcrum in the last two years, as state after state has introduced legislation designed to limit women’s access to abortion and or contraceptives and the health clinics set up to administer them. The nation’s most visible women’s health organization, Planned Parenthood, has come under withering, sustained, and unrelenting attack by the denizens of the Right for its support of abortion services to mostly low-income women across the nation.

The morality-based attack (most recently dressed up in the guise of religious freedom and thereby a question of Constitutional freedom) on women’s reproductive health issues across the nation certainly seems coordinated and calculated by the Right-wing and carried out by the Republican Party and their minions (e.g., Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Fox News) to disrupt and or upset established societal norms that were hard fought for and codified in establish law since the mid-1960s.

Below are links to some of the actions taking place on the battle-front:

  1. Texas Loses Entire Women’s Health Program Over Planned Parenthood Law
  2. Arizona Birth Control Bill Penalizes Women for Using Contraception For Non-Medical Reasons
  3. Republican-Controlled Arizona Legislature On Cusp Of Defunding Planned Parenthood
  4. Virginia Senate Passes Controversial Ultrasound bill
  5. Gov. Corbett Defends Pennsylvania Ultrasound Bill Because ‘It’s Not Invasive’
  6. Top Ten Shocking Attacks from the GOP’s War on Women
  7. Over Half Of Women Of Reproductive Age Live In Abortion-Hostile States
  8. Mitt Romney on Planned Parenthood: We Will ‘Get Rid’ of It
  9. Rick Santorum: Women In Combat Could Create ‘Compromising Situation’ Because Of ‘Emotions’
  10. Rick Santorum To Single Mothers: Government Paternity Tests Or No Welfare
  11.  Senate Strikes Down Blunt Amendment on Contraception Rule
  12. Romney clarifies stance on Blunt Amendment: “Of course” I’m for it
  13. Limbaugh Calls Student Denied Spot At Contraception Hearing A ‘Slut’
  14. New Hampshire House Passes A Bill That Falsely Claims Abortion Causes Breast Cancer
  15. Mississippi House Passes Measure Aimed At Closing The State’s Only Abortion Clinic
  16. Idaho Anti-Abortion Bill Could Send Women Seeking Abortions To Crisis Pregnancy Centers
  17. Georgia Republican Compares Women to Cows, Pigs, And Chickens
  18. Kansas Anti-Abortion Bill Threatens Doctors’ Training
  19. Florida Anti-Abortion Bill Faces Uncertainty In Senate After House Passage
  20. Indiana Lawmaker Accuses Girl Scouts Of Pushing ‘Pro-Abortion’ Agenda, ‘Homosexual Lifestyles’
  21. The War on Women in the Courts

For me, the War on Women being waged by Conservatives/Republican Party is neither a moral nor an ethical issue, but one of the fundamental civil and human rights of women. The moral argument fails if the rights of women as full citizens in this nation are to be respected and upheld, and if women are to be afforded equal protection under law! This is a war with abortion and religion at its corrupted core.

Like it or not, detest it or not, support it or not, abortion is legal in the United States as settled by Roe vs. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973). While the language of Roe does mandate a compelling state interest in the third trimester, and does suggest women use their choice in consultation with their medical professional, in the end, a woman has a right to choose if, when, how, and where she will carry a child; her womb, her choice!  A woman’s womb does not belong to the state, nor to society, itisher, inside her body, it is a part of her, like a kidney, a bladder, a heart, a lung.

Women’s wombs are not public property, nor do they belong to the Catholic Church, or to any religion for that matter; and they should not be the subject of public debate or public laws designed to govern their use and disposition.

The current onslaught of proposed and enacted laws is stunning in their seeming hatred and disrespect of women at a primal level, as they not only seek to make it next to impossible to obtain an abortion (Alabama is seeking to close the lone abortion clinic in the state), but to separate pregnant women from all other citizens, thereby creating a class of citizens whose every activity is scrutinized by the state and subject to criminal prosecution, as in the case of (then 15-year old) Rennie Gibbswho faces life in prison in Mississippi over the death of her unborn child.

These onerous and despicable laws not only seek State control over what a woman does with her body, her vagina, her womb, but would give that power to almost anyone else who seeks it as well (e.g., employers, insurance companies, clergy, husbands, boyfriends, rapists); anyone, that is, except the woman. In these legislative proposals, she is but a child, a scatterbrained, emotionally driven female who must be guided through life by level-headed (White) men who know best. These laws are debasing, demeaning, mean-spirited, misogynistic, and hateful; they are an affront to everything this nation is supposed to represent. And they must not be allowed to stand.

Noted feminist, satirist, and media critic Soraya Chemaly encapsulated the War on Women best in a recent article entitled: 10 Reasons the Rest of the World Thinks the U.S. Is Nuts in the Huffington Post, in which she wrote: “Mr. England unlike the calves and pigs for which you expressed so much empathy, I am not a beast of burden. I am a woman and I have these human rights:

The right to life.
The right to privacy.
The right to freedom.
The right to bodily integrity.
The right to decide when and how I reproduce.”

She went on to state: My human rights outweigh any you or the state corruptly and cynically seek to assign to a mass of dividing cells that will eventually turn into a ‘natural’ person. Personhood-for-zygote based bills and related legislation, like Georgia’s and hundreds of others, bills and laws that criminalize pregnancy and abortion and penalize women for being women, violate my human rights.”

Both she and I are pissed!!

I am tired of having to fight for rights that are already guaranteed under the Federal and all fifty state constitutions. Are these laws, these stains on the intellect and common decency of any rational human being, the mark of an “exceptional” nation Mr. Santorum?  I say no, far, far, from it!  I want America to be exceptional, to live out the lofty principles of her founding. But how can we, as a nation of over 300 million diverse people, move ahead when Conservative Republicans seek to drag us back to 1900 (or earlier) with their archaic, openly misogynist laws?

This is not the nation I want to bequeath to my four daughters and my eight nieces; a country wherein they are branded “sluts” and “prostitutes” for daring to have sex outside of marriage like so many men habitually do.  This is not the nation I want to live in now where such hatred towards my wife, my daughters, my nieces, my friends is tolerated and held up as sane when in fact, it is denigrating and degrading to ALL women, and ultimately to all Americans.

At the end of her article, Soraya Chemaly wrote: In an 1851 speech in which she argued for equal rights for women, Sojourner Truth said the following: ‘The poor men seems to be all in confusion, and don’t know what to do. Why children, if you have woman’s rights, give it to her and you will feel better. You will have your own rights, and they won’t be so much trouble.’”

And so, I have joined the battle on the side of the Angels because I truly believe in equal rights for all Americans, not just some. Human rights are universal, and they are not just for those who wield a penis and wear fair skin. We all deserve to live our lives with dignity, respect, and a modicum of happiness no matter where and how we choose to seek it.

Men: women are sexual beings, they want and enjoy sex every bit as much as we do, deal with it! Abortion is legal, and contraception is a medical necessity for a modern American woman’s reproductive health; deal with it. Women are not our playthings, they are not our property; they are human beings who deserve our respect, our understanding, and our support!

And so, I fight side-by-side with women on this issue, I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with my beautiful wife, daughters, nieces, friends, and citizens to let them know THIS man has their backs!  Like them, I will see these laws and these men—and in some sad cases, women—turned out of office, and struck from the airwaves and this hateful, destructive War on Women brought to a swift close with the victory flag waving high on the side of the Progressive, the rational, the sane.

Enough is enough.

Have you had enough? Join us on April 28, 2012 for the National Protest Against The War on Women being held in all 50 states simultaneously.

___________________________

Vincent Martin is a retired 15-year Navy Veteran, who now lives in Aurora, IL with his wife of 12 years.  Vincent works for a mid-sized financial services firm in Chicago, IL.  Vincent has four daughters, ranging in age from 17 – 32.

Tags

beautiful things

Not sure where I came across this….I believe it’s a good reminder for all of us.

….inked for the 1rst time

I have been feeling a bit under the weather the past few days….physically exhausted but emotionally feeling strong. I received my first tattoo this past Wednesday. I have been waiting for about 15 years or so to get one. The initial design that I had wanted changed….and I went thru a few years of knowing I still wanted one but didn’t know what I would want on my body for the rest of my life.  About a year and a half ago I was listening to a podcast by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes “The Dangerous Old Woman” (awesome podcast by the way) and she talked about a tree signifying the different stages of a woman’s life. I was really struck by this idea…so then my next search was to find the tree signifying what I felt and needed. At first I tried to force the search of this tree, but then after some time I let it go and accepted that I would find this tree image when the time was right.   Portland, Me has a first Friday art walk the first friday in every month..it’s awesome…galleries open their doors to all, people set up tables or put down blankets to sell their crafts….anyway I was at one of these art walks last year when I saw a tshirt designed by a young woman and I knew right when I saw it that it was my tree. I call it the tree of life in the feminine form, others have called it the goddess tree..either way it’s the same.

So after I found the inspiration for my tattoo I found the place and artist. Sanctuary tattoo in Portland, Me rocks. After I talked to Jen at Sanctuary I knew she was the one I wanted to do this.  She gets the healing, spiritual aspect of the tatto. And that’s what it is for me…It is about my healing journey, about reclaiming my life, declaring myself worthy of standing in this world, reclaiming my body from past abuse. It is so empowering.  It was an intense experience…I could feel the energy shifting as she created the design on my back.  When she finished and I looked at it for the first time I knew without a doubt it was right.  The next 2 nights I hardly slept…not because of pain…it just felt like a slight sunburn, but because so much energy was moving around within me that I was extremely restless. I feel more connected to my body than I ever have. It’s amazing…I really had no idea what this decision could mean for me.  I know I still have more healing of my past, but I feel as though this was a major step in reclaiming my body, my life…

Once it heals I will post a pic….

Jen