I emerged from sleep this morning with an itch I desperately wanted to scratch. Exerting unusual willpower I opted for diversion and delayed gratification, picking up my iPhone instead to see what was happening in the blogosphere. Elliot’s enticing “sleeping dragon” prompt for #MasturbationMonday didn’t help me at all. I thought I’d scratched that particular yen sufficiently last night but…
Braving the late winter chill I threw back the covers to document the moment for #SinfulSunday (that’s dedication for you folks). Then I needed to search through the clutter of toys and lube on/in the bed for the ointment for my itchy hand – which is actually what woke me up in the first place. It’s been four days since I had my birthday tattoo done but this is the first time the healing itch has bothered me.
Some of you may recall me posing the angst ridden question on Twitter quite some time back about whether I should cut my hair, dye it red or get a tattoo. These options were, and are, a fairly typical response to emotional anxieties, in this instance relating to my photographer friend, now companion, CM. This, finally, is the end result of that period of that girly angst (I’m glad I didn’t cut my hair).
The best part of the time which has lapsed between then and now is that rather than being a symbol of frustration and despair, my first piece of ink documents (re)emerging hope and companionship. CM has had a hard struggle with depression this winter and I’ve had minimal contact with him for nearly two months. This has been particularly difficult given that we had not ventured very far down the companionate path before his health deteriorated, and I, unprepared, took a lot of his need to be alone personally – until I gradually began to understand just how unwell he was.
The lack of contact, rejected offers of support (the healing itch), coupled with my lack of understanding and fears for his safety triggered my own anxiety, fears of abandonment and depression. My mental health issues have been both checked and exacerbated by the need to prepare for my forthcoming travel to the UK. All in all it’s been a steep learning curve – I’ve never been so emotionally connected to someone with chronic depression before, and I’ve been shocked by his condition and my own responses to it.
But I’ve learned a lot. We agreed some time ago that patience is not my strong point, and mine has been sorely tested in the last little while. Thankfully we had the opportunity to spend some quality time together the other day and now both seem more balanced. (WHICH GIVEN THAT IT’S ONLY THREE WEEKS UNTIL I DEPART IS BLOODY FORTUNATE!!!!)
My simple personally symbolic tattoo is strategically placed (like my hand in the photograph) so I can look at it frequently to remind myself of our “Precious” friendship, especially when anxiety about the future and fear of abandonment threatens to overwhelm me. It is also a visual prompt of the need to foster patience and pleasure in the smaller things in life…