- I am grateful for tattoo needles and tattoo artists, for the heavy metal/punk/industrial music they always blast in tattoo parlors, and how anyone, even a thirtysomething high school assistant principal, can come in, get inked, and be accepted as a canvas for art.
- I am grateful for my Mami. We’ve been through Hell together. There have been times when we’ve seen one another as alien, as not quite what we wanted. But God knows what he is doing and Mom and I are exactly what we need from each other.
- I am grateful for my Dad. For a funny man with a steady stream of stories and wisecracks, he is often silent during times of crisis. His Zen serenity inspires me.
- I am grateful for my brother. Like my Dad, there are things he won’t say or discuss. But his love is constant.
- I am grateful for my friends. For Lisabet, Ade, and Letty, the best comadres a girl could desire, their love for me unconditional. For Play Brother, the real Rocky Balboa. For my soldier, for the abundant love he has shown me during these past terrible weeks, for giving me the safe space to be down in the depths, for being there when I started the climb back.
- I am grateful for the blue sky and the sun. Even when I don’t appreciate them, they are present.
- I am grateful to Jesus. Now that I have a symbol of His courage on my back, I hope I can do right by Him. But I know He is with me no matter what.
The healing will be difficult. But phoenixes rise from ashes.