I recently got a tattoo with the phrase Always Keep Fighting. This wasn’t a spur of the moment decision, instead, it was one I spent years waiting to make. I wanted to be sure it was the right choice for me. Now, some may wonder why that phrase, other why I got it in such a prominent place, and others still why it is as big as it is. It’s not a simple answer, and you may or may not like what I have to say, and I am okay with that.
I have no desire to justify my decision to anyone, and this has nothing to do with the opinions of others. This is however about my journey, and what this tattoo means to me. Because maybe, just maybe, someone else out there needs hear what I have to say.
Several years ago, I was in a really bad place in my life. I was caught in an emotionally abusive marriage where I was miserable, I was depressed, full of anxiety, and borderline suicidal. Honestly, I was drowning and I didn’t know which way was up. It was at that time I stumbled across the “Always Keep Fighting” movement that one of my favorite actors had started. “I hope [the “Always Keep Fighting” campaign] helps people realize that they shouldn’t be ashamed of what they are going through . . . I hope it helps people take pride in the fight that they have been fighting, and gives them a push to never give up or give in. I hope it helps inspire people to keep fighting. no matter how hard it is.” – Jared Padalecki.
He was honest about his own struggle with depression and mental health. He was the perfect example of how you can have everything going right in your life, and still have mental health struggles. His willingness to speak out and make an effort to break the stigma around mental health issues was a huge inspiration to me, and countless others. It gave me the courage to keep going.
Always Keep Fighting became my motto… well, truth be told, it’s a lot more than that.
While having problems with depression and anxiety, I kept fighting. When my children or I had emotionally and physically exhausting medical problems, I kept fighting. When my marriage fell apart, I started my journey as a single mom with two special needs kids, and rebuilt my life from the ground up, I kept fighting. No matter what life has thrown at me, no matter how bad things have gotten, no matter how many times I got knocked down, I always, ALWAYS kept fighting.
I have picked up every piece of my life and glued it back together out of sheer stubbornness. I sewed up the wounds on my soul out of pure determination. I have risen from the ashes of my life not as a spark of the girl I was, but as the flame of the woman I am meant to be. I have fought tooth and nail, through blood, sweat, and tears to become the woman I am today. No more fear. No more shame. No more hiding. I am damn proud of everything that has brought me to right here, right now.
It is more than just some quote, and more than just a random tattoo. It is a reminder and symbol of who I was, who I am, and who I want to be. At the end of the day, I am a fighter. I always have been. I always will be.
No matter what tomorrow brings, I will always keep fighting.