Tattoo

Recently I got a tattoo and everyone has been wondering what it is or why I got it.  I haven’t explained it to many people because I just haven’t had time to fully explain it.  There are so many things someone must know to understand why I got that tattoo.  It is not something simple to me.  I mean I planned it for 8 years, so what can you expect?

When I was very young, around the age of 4, I took father and daughter guitar lessons with my dad.  I don’t really remember the classes, but one day has always stood out to me more than others.  My dad and I went to the class, then went to the fair after.  We got mint chocolate chip ice cream and I just loved spending the day with my dad.  The main focus of the day was music, but that was most days for us.

Another really strong memory I have with my dad is painting with watercolors.  We painted together so many times that I don’t have just one day I can recall.  All I remember is painting with him.

He was very artistic. In fact, I think that I got my artistic side from him.  We used to always jam out to “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath in his car and look at nature together.  We always talked about how beautiful nature was.  Our favorite colors were green and blue because they were always in nature and we both had beautiful blue eyes.

In 2011, God decided that it was time for my dad to go home.  I tried to follow him multiple times, but luckily I failed.

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

Now that I got the background information out of the way, I think I can actually explain my tattoo.

My tattoo is a black bass and treble clef that resemble a heart with blue, green, and purple watercolors behind it on my forearm.  It sounds simple, but it really isn’t.

I have known since I was 10 I wanted a heart for my dad but I did not know what kind.  I decided that when I saw the music heart that I knew it was perfect.  I feel most connected to him through any sort of art.

The bass clef has low notes in music while the treble has high notes.  This is to remind me that there are lows in life, but there are also highs.

The bass clef normally has a colon at the end, but I decided to make it a semicolon because there is a very famous project known as The Semicolon Project, which raises awareness for suicide victims and survivors.  After my father passed, I thought I could not handle life without him, but I can and the semicolon is a reminder that I can.

The watercolors in the back are not just cool colors to me.  Whenever I see blue and green together, I always think of my dad so I thought they were the only fitting colors to have.  I added purple as a sort of transition color.

The reason I am calling them watercolors is because they look like splashes of watercolors.  The reason I added them was not just for a pop of color.  It was because some of the best memories I have of him are when we were painting together and most the time we used watercolors.

The placement is not random either.  I know to some people it is dumb to have a tattoo so visible, but I do not care.  It is visible in most dresses, but I want it that way.  My father cannot walk me down the aisle so having the tattoo on my arm out in the open is the closest I will ever get.

Dear Dad,

It’s been seven years since you’ve passed and it still doesn’t feel real.

Photo Credit: Camp Geneva

This past year has been one of the hardest years without you.  I had my first love and first heartbreak.

The only person I wanted after that heartbreak was you, but you weren’t here.  I needed you to be here, I needed your advice, I had no clue what to do.

I have no father figure to lead me and I am just starting to become a woman, I need your advice.

In just under two months, I am going to be 18 and you won’t be there.

You won’t be there for anything. We won’t have a father-daughter dance, you won’t walk me down the aisle, you won’t watch me graduate, and you won’t watch me grow up.  I will never know if you are proud of who I am becoming.

I know I shouldn’t be mad at you, but it gets hard sometimes.

I know it wasn’t your fault.

It was fated.

I need to let fate take over now.  You must have left me for a reason.

I am stronger than I could have ever imagined me to be by this age. I know how to fend for myself.  I know I can make it through anything now. I know you would be proud of who I am becoming and that is all that matters.

I miss you, but I know I can make it through.

A Stuffed Animal

When I was in third grade, I wanted to go see Kung Fu Panda. All my friends were excited about it, but, when my mom broke the news to me that we couldn’t afford to go, I was heartbroken.

For weeks and months, I was upset about it. Until one day after school, when my mom made enough money, she showed up with the DVD and a stuffed panda bear in hand.

I’ve kept that panda bear ever since. Its name is Bob, and it’s a she. I don’t remember why I decided to give a girl panda one of the most boy names I knew at that time, but I do remember the countless questions I was asked, and the countless times I didn’t care to give an exact answer I didn’t even know myself.

What I did know was that I loved that panda. I brought it everywhere. I brought it to my dad’s home on the weekends, to the occasional family dinners, and to the sunset Malibu car rides.

It was around me when I was happy and when I was sad. I held onto it during the silent nights. I held onto it with the grip of my small, but tight hand while trying desperately not to feel alone with my family in the other room.

In a time of darkness, that stuffed animal was the last dwindling light source. It held every bit of my fighting innocence that diminished within me as I grew up, but, as I carried it with me through my life’s adventures, I carried bits of my childhood along with it.

When I moved in with my dad, I brought that stuffed animal with me.

When I went to Argentina for the first time, I brought that animal with me to the hotel, on the plane, and in my backpack on tourist trips.

Every trip I took to Mexico, I’d bring it with me.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

When I went to boarding school for the first time, it stayed on my bed. When I went home for weekends, it came with me in my suitcase. When I went to OVS for the first time, it came with me.

After I got back surgery before sophomore year, with all of my emotions ridiculously heightened from the the extreme pain meds that put me under, I had a mental breakdown for hours because I thought I had left this panda at OVS. It didn’t stop until my uncle lifted up my blankets and handed it to me.

I was fifteen then.

Then the Thomas Fire came. In a panic, I only had thirty minutes to pack anything valuable to me. Without hesitation, I grabbed my panda and threw it into the bottom of my bag. The dorm parents told us we would only be gone for the night, but I couldn’t risk it. I cried when I thought I left it at school, I couldn’t imagine what would happen if it burned. I had to bring it with me.

It seems ridiculous how emotionally attached I am to an inanimate object now that I’ve grown up, but it’s still important to me. It stays on my bed and it no longer goes on trips with me; I no longer rely on it. I don’t hold it when I fall asleep. In fact, it sometimes slips onto the floor guiltily in the middle of the night. But, whenever I’m distraught or alone, I grab onto it and hold it as tight as I can.

It may still be a stuffed animal, but it’s so much more.

It’s the last thing I have from my mother. I no longer have photos in my possession or objects from her and, despite all the tragic, dark times, this bear represents one of the few good memories I have of her. It symbolizes the goodness in her which faded away over time, but is still kept as a stored memory I hold onto – literally.

It holds my innocence. My ruined, diminished childhood innocence still stays safe inside that stuffed animal I look at every time I make my bed and I still smile about it.

The panda symbolizes my childhood. Without it, the last remnants of it would vanish.

Dear Father

Dear Father,

Or should I call you that?

Photo Credit: Tumblr

Were you really a father to me, or simply a mere memory.

Of someone I dreamed would be.

But this letter isn’t a poem to you.

I wrote one to mother months ago, and every week I’ve been pondering whether I should write one to you. I never know what to say to you, or what memories to reminisce, simply because there are none.

Yes, you were a father, but biologically only. You weren’t a father until you had to be. Until, you got the call that mom had died, and you suddenly had to drop that neglectful act and realize you had two kids to raise whom you left behind.

But according to you, you never left us behind, did you?

You’d send $500 a month to keep us barely below the poverty line. You’d take us on Sundays to shopping malls and Jamba Juice trips in hopeless attempts to buy our love and respect, but those are feelings that cannot be bought.

They are earned, but you didn’t earn them.

Yes, I loved you the way any daughter unconditionally loves their father, but there was nothing else to love.

You missed dance performances for business trips, and movie nights during computer drifts.

I have no memory of you besides the fragments of moments spread over the years of my childhood, a childhood I long to forget.

Do I miss you? I wish I could say yes, but there’s nothing left to miss. Yes, you were better than mom, at least at parenting, but at least mom was there. At least she left knowing that she’d always be in my mind.

I wish I could pour my heart into this letter like I did for mom, but I simply can’t. She changed my life, but you weren’t around enough to do that.

I know you tried your best. I really thank you for that. You did everything you could to keep my childhood intact.

You were pure at heart, but for a child who was ignored desperately, pleading for an escape, it would never be enough.

As much as I loved you, like any daughter loves a father…

You’d never be enough.

Old Hands

His old hands are ready. He lets out a sigh and reaches for his paintbrush. For him, painting has evolved from a hobby into an obsession.

His weathered fingers clutch the brush carefully, examining the shape and age. He views his subject. His grip tightens as he combines colors into the shades he desires.

His first stroke comes with a splash of a deep blue. The brush has become an extension of himself. He takes another stroke, slowly mixing in white paint until his deep blue has become as pale as the midday sky.

The cool air blows across his face. A face that has been weathered by a life lived and time passed. Each crevice in his skin is a symbol of his experiences.

The sand brushes against his legs, slowly aging the skin. Yet his painting continues, never ceasing.

His arthritic joints have become painful once again. He winces at every movement. His painting is near completion mere strokes away from finality.

His hands no longer obey him and he must begin to slow.

With a fine needle he signs his name and titles the piece.

His painting complete.

    “beach” by Stephen Giannetti, Paint on canvas

, But Never Doubt I Love

Doubt thou the stars are fire,
Doubt that the sun doth move,
Doubt truth to be a liar,
But never doubt I love.

An excerpt from Hamlet by Shakespeare.

Currently, I am reading Hamlet in my AP English class. Now, Shakespeare hasn’t always been my strong suit. But sometimes, I find myself getting lost in his beautiful wording.

This quote says it all.

People will always question the heavens above them and the ground that they stand upon. Even more so, people will question the words of those they know, even those that they are very close to.

However, there are a few sure things in life. One of them is love.

Whether this love is directed towards family, a close friend, a girlfriend, a boyfriend, a pet, a picture, a passion, or a song, love is always there.

Sure, love can be a confusing thing at times. Especially for those near my age, when awkward teenage love is beginning to mature and we are just figuring out who we are and what we are capable of. But for the most part, people can clearly identify love.

This is a universal feeling. It’s something that Shakespeare knew clearly hundreds of years ago and it’s something that holds true today.

I say, trust in love. Trust in your mother and your father. Trust in your best friends and your enemies. Trust in your boyfriend or girlfriend or whoever your special person may be. Trust in that feeling. It is one of the few sure things that will persist throughout time.

Love is timeless.

To The Best Man I Know.

This picture says it all.

I love my dad.
I don’t know any other immense, bottomless love.
During times of difficulty, he has been my rock and laid out the foundations for a secure home.

The only thing that scares me is how old my father is.
I mean, I am in no form ashamed of his age. My dad is 80 and he hasn’t failed to love me for a single day.

However, I do get worried.
Sometimes, when he does certain things, I feel a little tug on my heart.

For example, his once steady and strong hands tremble. His fingers move very slow and systematically.
He cannot stand for over 20 minutes at a time.
His sight is slowly slipping away; He can’t drive after the sun begins to set.
He gets sick more often. My father, man who hadn’t caught a cold in so many years, finally caught one this year and he is still trying to recover.

I know these are all natural, especially for someone so elderly. However, he is my father, and I can’t help but get a little sad to see him slowing down.

However, none of these symptoms of old age make me love him any less. Although I have been attending a boarding school 2 hours away from home for the past 5 years of my life and I don’t talk to him nearly as much as I should, he still remains number 1 in my heart, my blessing from God.

I hope that everybody gets to experience such a love. It is overwhelming and wonderful. It motivates you and places you on the right path. It lifts you up and betters you. It moves you without words. It is so powerful and definitely one of the greatest emotions God has given to his people.

My father allowed me to be the person I want to be. When I am older, I want to be able to give the same selfless, unconditional love to my children.

I love you dad, always. I will continue to try to be the best me I can. Hope your cold goes away soon!