Today's post comes to you by Coach Jen Shaw. I'll tell you right here and now that It's not going to be about proper lifting technique or some crazy workout she had her LIFT chicks knock out. Nothing about her post has anything really to do with fitness, workouts, or gym life. It does, however, have everything to do with STRENGTH.

This post is not about TCS, LIFT, or the gym. It's personal. So if you are not into personal shit- you should probably stop reading right now. Blogs are for business, but sometimes also for therapy. I apologize for no words typed, and if you are offended that is on you.

I never ask anyone "what does your tattoo mean?" It's annoying, sometimes embarrassing, but most of the time when people ask I just give the blank "deer in the headlights stare". You don't want to know, and no its NOT a damn peacock.

PSA: if you don't like the answer its on you for asking the question.

There are so many reasons why people trust a complete stranger to put a drawing with a needle on their arm that will never go away. Some think its super cool to get that sun around your belly button...I wonder what those girls are doing now? And some are pieces of art, something to look "more cool", tributes to children, loved ones, military, and then there's the drunk ones you KNOW they regret. But there is another category- catastrophic life experience. The kind of shit that tears your organs apart with pain. The experience that leaves you dying inside daily and wondering when you will be able to look at yourself in the mirror again and recognize the person you see. The pain that leaves you on the floor with a gun under your pillow for three days straight wondering what day or time it is, or if anyone would ever notice if you just were not on the earth anymore. Real pain.

Real pain cannot be described. It's a daily dose of "wow I want to die, this life sucks, shit sucks."  At this point some choose to quit on life, go to therapy, whine and complain, lean on their friends until they have none, or just move and start a new life pretending. None of this works.

I sat down for a total of 12 hours and needled that pain right out of me. I always thought black ravens were the coolest birds ever. But the phoenix, that's me. It's starting over without having to talk it out with a stranger, without having my friends have to hear every single solitary day how miserable I am. It's how I dealt with ( I hope ) the worst experience of my life. I don't regret one minute. I LOVE my tattoos. Every time I look down I am reminded of how I did NOT let it get to me. How I didn't loose. I WON. I made a life for myself. I ended up respecting myself. I didn't just give up, even though that was a thought at one time. I overcame and moved on. And yes, that is what a tattoo is sometimes. It's my sort of therapy.

Recently I was judged because I had it, by my own family. It's caused me pain, and hard to handle. But looking at my tattoo is a reminder that its not that bad. They can get over it, I don't regret this amazing bird on my arm. And I have been through worse. SO go ahead guys, judge away. In the end its you that lose, because I am one of the most loyal and honest people you will meet. And I am no longer in your corner.

So next time you see someone with a tattoo don't assume its what you think. Sometimes its something that got them standing where they are today. And stop asking "what does your tattoo mean?' unless you are ready for the answer.