What does my spade tattoo mean?

In April, I was fired. After the initial joy of being unemployed wore off and I returned from Europe, I didn’t know what I wanted to do next. I was exhausted trying to answer that question from everyone around me. The thought of what I should do or was capable of drained me.  I had been fighting with my parents constantly. My friends reached out to tell me they were worried about me. 

About a month after being fired, I heard that Kate Spade ended her life. I cried when I heard the news . Not just once, but a few times, over the period of a few days I didn’t sob, but I teared up thinking how much impact her brand has had on young women the last twenty years. I quietly cried thinking about how much pain she must have been in.

Photo courtesy of BBC

Photo courtesy of BBC

As the summer went on, I sunk further and further into a deep depression.

I told everyone I was fine. And I would point to all the shit I was doing - teaching myself photography and photoshop. I was blogging a ton and getting featured on other sites (albeit unpaid) etc. But everyone wanted to know what was the plan. How I was going to make money? 

It was - and is - a valid question. I didn’t have an answer and I felt completely useless. My whole life, my identity had been my career. Even as a kid. I dreamed of leaving my parents home and becoming an uber successful business bitch. Now I didn’t have any of that. Or even the prospect of it.

At times I felt great. I felt like I had found my calling - writing. Sharing stories on blog made me feel alive. But writing also brought an onslaught of emotions and memories I had buried until now. And it confirmed that I didn’t want to go back into the career I had. I just didn’t know how I was going to make money. All of this combined with not knowing what I was supposed to do next, not getting the jobs I was interviewing for, sent me into a deep depression. 

Not everyday. I’d oscillate. Like I said, somedays I felt free and like myself for the first time ever. But the lows were so low. I didn’t think I had much to live for. I could not get a job. I didn’t know what to do with my life. It seemed like everyone was mad at me. I thought by 29 I’d have at least one part of my life figured out. I really thought I’d have achieved so much more by now. 

And I never really never anticipated isolation from a parent. But my dad stopped to speaking me this summer, citing how I was living. Mainly referring to what I was writing about on my blog. I had never felt so alone or so unloved.

I would lay in my hammock for hours, drinking wine, crying, and thinking about how alone I was. Dwelling on the thought that I had nothing to live for.

I’ve had depression my whole life but this was the first time I thought it didn’t matter if I lived. And while I didn’t have a suicide plan, I was certainly in a dark place. With no idea how to get out of it.

So I did all I had the energy to do. Every morning, I started writing on my forearm with a permanent marker: “I am loved”. I had to remind myself everyday that I am loved and it does matter if I live. I continued to take my medicine and seeing my therapist.

I started to get a plan. I decided on a business and started going forward. I decided if I couldn’t get the job I wanted, I was going to create it. It’s hard but I’m enjoying it. And its so worth it.

I knew I didn’t want to get “I am loved” or a heart tattooed on me but I did want a permanent reminder. I settled on a spade, in memory of Kate Spade but also because spade has a heart shape in it. And this heart reminds me of my love. The love sent to me from others. The love I give to others. And the love that I am. 

mental health tattoo.jpg

I still fight the feeling of being unloved. I battle my depression everyday. When I’m overwhelmed, I take breaks instead of stopping. I try to be kind to myself everyday. I constantly have to remind myself that I am talented and can do something extraordinary. I surround myself with people who believe in what I can do. And when I can’t reach them, I have this reminder on my forearm. Forever. 

If you are suffering right now, please know that you are loved. Reach out for help. For everyone else, reach out to your friends who you think might be suffering. They might put a brave face or joke it off, but they could be actually struggling with suicide ideation right now and they need you to tell them how much you love them.

Stephanie DeLacy unapologetically shares what it’s like to navigate the world as 20-something white girl, with humor, profanity, and raw vulnerability. Stephanie recounts stories of her travel, mental health, and the journey to loving her body. Her descriptions of dating are bawdy but incredibly relatable. She courageously describes her dysfunctional childhood, healing from trauma, and how she’s evolved as a survivor of sexual assault. At times, heart wrenching, her stories will evoke raw emotion and connect to you on the most guttural level. She hopes to inspire authentic living and human connection.  Stephanie lives in Cleveland with her dog and two cats.