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Renegade!

I was driving along listening to my new Daughtry album that I had picked out. I had never heard him, other than on American Idol a few years back. The title grabbed me. “Break the Spell” For some reason I thought it might be a good listen, and I’m glad to say I was right.

The first song grabbed me, and I LOVED it. Renegade just got to me in my core. The words really resonated with some of the things that I had been feeling inside for a long time.

“Don’t you wanna feel like a rebel?
Renegade on the run?
Real live wire in the cross fire ridin’ shotgun

Not talkin’ ’bout a deal with the Devil
I said nothin’ about sellin’ your soul
Call it what you will
If you start to feel out of control…”

I had always felt like I was the odd one out… Born to be a rebel, you might say.

I grew up in a church that was legalistic about their faith. Scared the crap out of me a lot. I have a lot of issues because of growing up in that church. I can remember being in youth group and listening to the pastor rant on about how we are to be leaders for God… IN other words, be pastors and pastor’s wives for Him. I don’t know if everyone got that message, but I sure got that from them. “Oh, you weren’t allowed to be deaf and blind in one eye for nothing! You will save souls when God heals you.” Did He heal me? Um. No. I’m still blind in one eye and deaf, though I am probably more Hard of Hearing than Deaf. My right ear is pretty deaf though, but I can hear enough to be able to wear hearing aids to help me make it in this hearing world. When I went off to college, which was a pretty “rebellious” thing in their mind. God forbid I go 2000 miles away from home to go to a college that is fit for me! “She’ll stray from her faith. She needs to be within our churches.” To find out they had had such little faith in me really made me question them, but I was scared to even say or do anything. I was supposed to be such a good girl.

Then my world got turned upside down in 2000. A drunk driver decided to do just that. It was a miracle that I survived, and I don’t discount that. Going home and standing in front of my church, after just flying home from saying goodbye to a grandmother who wanted to see me before she passed, was weird for me. I was still recovering from the injuries of the accident as it had been just two months since then. “Oh praise God! He can use this to save souls.” Sure… He can, but really, I just got hammered from a stupid guy who decided to get drunk and that’s all you can think about! That was my thinking then. I was so angry and confused about it all. I also felt so isolated and tired of being so singled out like that. They saw the surface but not the inside. I was tired of being seen as this poor girl who has had the bitter end of the barrel. I wanted to scream.

That following year I got a tattoo. Oh. Yes. My first rebellious move.

I went home for a wedding I was in. Someone from my old church saw it and called me out on it. “Oh, so you’ve become a Heathen, eh?” That put the nail in the coffin. I was not going to return to that church again.

But I loved God more than just turning my back on him, though I admit I did have my time when I was angry and didn’t want to do anything with him. When you get to that point, it’s lonelier and hard. With some help of friends, I found my way back.

I fell in love with a Catholic and eventually became engaged to him. Oh, did my old church scream. I got a nasty letter from someone from there and I burned it. It was full of condemnation. I was basically damned to hell. Nice. A christian doing that? I wonder what Jesus would have said to that. I’ll let God deal with that… I had already promised my husband that I wouldn’t judge them. He knew how hurt I was as it was from someone I had admired growing up.

I became a Catholic. My family was upset from that decision. I thought I was doing the right thing as I was tired of the judgmental attitude I was getting from everyone else at the old church I was going to. It took me four long years of practicing it to make me realize that it was just as bad as my old church in how legalistic it was, if not, worse.

I decided to find a different church, and went with a friend to hers. I loved it for how embracing the people were. I needed a community as I had just moved into a new state in the past year with no luck in finding a place to plug into. On top of that I was with a two year old and a brand new infant. My husband was also not practicing Catholicism as well, so that really made me feel alone in a faith I did not grow up into like he did. I was at this new church for just a little over five years until things unraveled in my life. A lot of things had happened in those five years and recently it all just became too overwhelming. I look back and realize that my rebel nature didn’t fit in with that church at all. I didn’t do things the way they did it. I spoke up about certain things that I felt were wrong, and nothing changed. I don’t think I was ever really taken seriously.

“One-hundred miles an hour with the top rolled down
Racin’ the wind breakin’ out this town
Tryin’ to get lost but don’t want to be found, yeah”

I am still the rebel. I am tired of being the weak one. I do struggle with depression, and I know that might be why they don’t take me seriously. With all that I’ve put up with in some people, I do want to escape sometimes. I want to be where I am accepted and not judged. I don’t want to be put in a cookie cutter shape anymore, and I’m hoping as I move on in life I will find more people who will accept this rebel/free spirit person – Tattoos and all. (Yes, it’s more than one now)

As for a church, I have recently found a church that I hope will work for me. They rock… Literally. I know God made me to be this way for a reason, and I want to be the

“REBEL with a CAUSE,

and its HIM.”

And if God wills it… When the kids are older, there might be a motorcycle for me to ride around, let the wind whip in my face, and let me escape for a little while. That will make this Renegade happy.

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Tattoos – An addiction?

I had always been intrigued with tattoos  for as long as I can remember, but having been raised in a very evangelical church, it was heavily frown upon to even consider getting one. I would rebelliously draw on myself with a black pen at times, creating my own “tattoos” around my ankle or wherever I felt putting my art on.  I had thought the reason for the strong discouragement was in the whole idea of permanently marking your body with something that was “unholy”, and I accepted that for a while… Until I went to college.

A lot of my doctrinal thinking was challenged in the fact I was so far removed from the close-knit community I had in my rather large church.Yet, at the same time, I wasn’t as close to my old church as I had once thought I was… It’s amazing how distance can change the perspective of the relationships you have, but thats a whole new subject to discuss. I didn’t really think about tattoos until I had to deal with some very traumatic moments in my life.

The fall of 2000 I had to deal with surviving a drunk driving accident and the loss of a grandma within three months time. The effects of the first still echoed violently into the next couple years of my life, and in the beginning of it, it was a rough ride. I doubted God. I was angry. I was hurting spiritually, physically, and emotionally. I had lost a week of my life, as I don’t remember the days clearly that I laid in that hospital bed with a severe concussion along with several other injuries.  The loss of control in my life was the main reason I was angry, and many times I tried to drown myself away from those feelings with the bottle. Thanks to some concerned friends, they stopped it from becoming a vicious cycle as I was able to find help.

Yet, I didn’t have closure. I felt something was left unfinished.

I can remember clearly on a summer day, the following year, walking up the hill on a weekend day at a camp I worked at in Minnesota, and feeling the anguish of the constant reminder of the car accident as I could feel the glass still inside me. “God, Why?! I’m tired of feeling hopeless.” It was then I could feel God hold me and remind me He protected me that night from any further injury. It WAS a miracle I survived. I was at the point of impact in the car when the other driver ran the red light.

I knew then I needed something to remind me, permanently, that God was there with me that night.

As an artist, I knew a tattoo would be the ideal thing to have as a reminder of God’s protection on my life. I knew what I wanted as a reminder : Christ’s Cross. “… By His wounds you have been healed.” I Peter 2:24  I didn’t want just any cross, but I drew up my own rendition of a Celtic cross, as I love the art and knotwork of my Irish heritage. With a friend, on a warm Saturday afternoon, I went and got it done.

Did it give me closure? A little bit. I was able to resolve some of my feelings in that one permanent action. There will probably be things in that one traumatic experience which will never be resolved. I’ll never remember what happened to me during that whole week. I know this because it’s been ten years since the accident, and nothing new has come to the surface as far as that goes.

Quite frankly, I didn’t realize that until now. Wow.  I’m glad to say it has not consumed me.

Three years later, I got another one.  A blue wolf on my left shoulder. Reason for that was I related to a lone wolf more than anything else as I struggled to adapt to being a resident in Illinois and being newly married. This one is my favorite one so far.

My newest one to the collection was some Chinese characters saying “Strong Ram/sheep”.  My husband got inked as well when I got this one. He had some Chinese done him as well, being ” Fire Dragon” and “Phoenix”. The reasons for this was the fact the Chinese zodiac, even though I don’t follow the rubbish, was amazingly accurate to what my personality is. The other reason, that seemed more fitting, is the fact that I am a lamb of God. I am being made strong in all that He has allowed me to endure.

Do I think I’ll get more? To be honest, probably. I am a visual person, an artist, and I communicate this way. It’s not only a conversational starter, but they remind me of the moments in my life that I made it through… And still going through. Am I addicted to it? I don’t know about that, but I do like them. The pain in the process of getting one is almost cleansing. Some people wouldn’t understand it, but when you go through it, the reward of having a beautiful piece of art on you, or something meaningful, makes the pain worth it. The best way to describe it is a rite of passage. Life is full of passages, wouldn’t you say?

My next one might be a tribute to a friend of mine and my grandmother who have fought a good battle with brain cancer. My grandmother now is in heaven after losing her last battle with it, and now my friend is on her way to paradise. Having two close people in my life fall to this horrible disease is enough to make me want to have a living tribute to them. I’m not sure what it will be yet, but I know it will be fitting when I figure out an appropriate one for them.

Some people would probably ask me if I can stop wanting tattoos, and I am sure I can. I have a limit, and it has a lot to do with being able to be respectable, and to be able to have a job in the future. A lot of places don’t appreciate tattoos like I do, and I do respect that.  As long as I can cover them, I’ll be fine.  But when I don’t have to, that’s even better. 🙂

So, hey, I like tattoos. Thats me.