A New Battle Cry

By: Maena St. Paul

this is a tattoo i got for my 23rd birthday.

and as the new year inches closer,

i find myself wanting a new phrase,

a new battle cry,

to march myself into 2017 with.

and my thoughts find themselves being stretched between so many options.

but to narrow it down, i look at this.

and i remember why it mattered to brand my skin with these words.

because my past looks a whole lot like fear and less like courage.

less like me choosing me.

and i knew that wasn't something i wanted for myself anymore.

it wasn't something i could see myself wrapping my arms around for the rest of my life with joy in my eyes.

i let fear win for so long i forgot what a finish line looked like anymore.

so i made myself a promise.

not that i wouldn't lose anymore.

but that i would fight for myself.

that learning how to love better would start with loving me.

it would start with believing that my mistakes and my bad habits and my heavy baggage wouldn't decide whether or not i was worthy of being picked first onto someone else's team.

and so my tattoos, they serve as reminders for me.

and the permanency lets me know that these truths don't have an expiration date.

and if we're being honest, fear has had some victories since then.

but it has never once claimed me as its own.

i'm not a slave to setbacks and intimidation.

i'm the daughter of fighting back.

the sister to dusting my shoulders off and continuing.

the lover of the finish line.

and i never really thought that i could fit into all those traits but i do.

i just had to decide if i wanted to be free or not.

and i think that makes all the difference.

so for this upcoming year,

i'm making it my scout's honor to never miss it.

to never miss all the good staring at me dead in the face,

demanding my attention.

i'm standing in front of myself, promising to give everything all i've got.

to not only accept opportunities to grow, but to seek them out.

this girl isn't going to survive her life anymore.

she's going to live it

and i hope that you'll be bold to live fully with me.

that maybe we can carry each other

and help each other speak up.

to see clearer.

take everything in and let it stay for awhile.

receive what's ours.

i used to be afraid of holding solid things for too long.

i waited for the other shoe to drop and expected my life to be this endless marathon of bad news.

but after waking up one day and realizing that i was missing my life as it flew on by, i decided i had to stop.

and i had to focus and see for myself that there was still some good tugging at the hem of my shirt, asking for some recognition.

so if you're finding yourself in the same shallow boat,

know that you're not alone

and let's make a pact together.

a pact to stop missing it.

welcome to 2017.