Ink On The Skin. || The Meaning Behind RootingBranches.


I've never been the most rebellious of humans. Actually, it'd be laughable if anyone put my name and rebellious in the same sentence. I've never gotten drunk with friends, never thought about taking drugs, never been in a physical fight, nor have I ever gotten a secret tattoo. I wouldn't do that. But for the past few years, I have been thinking about getting something permanent on my skin. Due to not being the most spontaneous of humans, I'm never one to jump into something without giving it months of thought and a pro/con list. That isn't going to change with this decision, but I'd like to mark the date that I officially decided to get ink stained on my skin. It's unlikely to be anytime soon, but what's the rush when it's going to be with me for life?

So here's what I want... A branchy tree. (Shock horror, right?) I like the notion of branches, as you can probably tell by my blog's domain  and any social media handle I've had. But more than that, I like roots and the hidden message you can find behind them. The depths of ourselves that others are unable to see. I like that your branches may be tiny, but the roots that it takes to get those woody wonders are large. More often than not for me, the roots far out weight the branches I gain. But that's okay. It simply takes a lot for me to grow the little things that are visible to the naked eye (I'm a tree in this analogy, are you getting that yet? The way my brain talks and the way it looks on paper a document are quite different.)

Let's go with a trusty example. Someone seeing a 20 year old girl walking into their local shop and buying milk, probably seems like nothing to them. A usual daily act. To their eye, it's just a teeny tiny branch on my tree of life. But hidden inside, it took a lot of roots for me to get there. May sound stupid, but it's the truth. I can loop past the shop multiple times, not working up the courage to go in. The very same shop that I've been visiting since I was born suddenly seems like unsafe territory. What am I afraid of? Nothing particularly, and yet everything. My mind races as I pace, but all the while my roots grow deeper and deeper. Planting me in the worry, but yet strengthening me with the growth. Helping me grow that sodding "entering the shop" branch. Get it? No? Different example/analogy? Okay. As someone who struggles with both mental and physical health, I worry that my future is going to be bleak. And to be entirely honest, that's because my successes at this particular point in life are minuscule. I'm working on bettering myself and putting together plans that will hopefully build my life into one of happiness, but the progress isn't visible.. So am I really making any? I ask that a lot. Is it worth working on yourself if it doesn't ease anyone else's opinions around you? Illogical and yet a dominating thought. They aren't seeing anything spectacular, as the progress I'm excelling at is invisible. It's in the inside of me. Thus.. roots. As I get older though, I'm learning to accept that. Or at least, I'm trying to. The logical side of my brain says "You have to work on your inner self first. The parts people can't see. The wonky ones that are hidden and covered in dirt. Because you won't grow without them succeeding first.", Maybe my brain isn't always sensibly challenged. 

My other twisty meaning behind the branchy tree is chronic pain. I have fibromyalgia which gets handed out with really bad fatigue. I find it a joyous thing if I go out for a 10 minute walk and don't get pain or a desire to nap afterwards, because it's rare and a success in the health section of my tree. To others? It can seem tiny and trivial. "A walk? Big whoop. I was on my feet for 8 hours today." Which, don't misunderstand, I fully understand. People can't wrap their minds around another persons problems unless they've experienced it themselves. Walk a mile in another persons shoes, and all that jazz. Nevertheless, that can sometimes make my successes feel belittled. See where I'm going with this? Small branch, a heck of a lot of roots. 

My last reason behind this particular tattoo desire (yup, I have more. I put a lot of thought into this.), is the notion of leaves. Now if/when I get this image inked onto my skin, I want a bare tree. Because that's where I started. But something I wanted to mention was my own personal idea behind the symbolism of leaves. Trees have leaves, so my brain of course had to factor that in. Otherwise it'd just be weird (*eerie silence*).Can you guess what I visualise leaves as? I'll give you three seconds.. 1, 2, 3... people! Did you guess right? Shoot me a tweet if you did. (@RootingBranches, just FYI.) To me, people brighten your life. They turn your dreary branches into something of colour that the sun looks down on with joy. They make you more fulfilled. They make you different. And the leaves that fall down, are ones that you no longer have room for on your twiggy life. It's sad, but necessary. Sometimes an entire branch will fall down with it, but that's also okay. You'll grow again, you just need time to heal. You need to wait for your roots to spin their magic and help you grow again. That's where the inspiration came from for the first image on this blog post. I was feeling a little lost, wandering around my partner's garden, wondering whether a single person can change the entirety of your world. My thoughts never seem small anymore. Anyway, when I spotted that single leaf sitting proud upon a thin branch, it put everything into perspective for me. It was beautiful. Which means that you can look okay with a single leaf. Sometimes it's all you need to be spotted in the midst of the others. I was surrounded by luscious hearty trees, and this little fella was the one that grabbed my attention. It brightened my mind.

Right now you're either thinking; "What the hell is this crackpot blogger on?"; or if you're fully invested into this analogy, you're thinking; "So a tree with roots, eh? Nice choice for a tat." To which I respond with.. nope. That's not what I want. Originally, I did want to get a tree with roots but something seemed off to me. At first I put that down as insecurity over the idea of getting something I had not once thought of growing up, but then dismissed it when I still had this yearning to see a tree when I felt lost. My notebooks have tree doodles everywhere and it's my first thought when trying something new. I imagine myself as this piece of nature, and no matter how weird it may sound to others, I've always been thankful for it as it helps me through tough situations. It's my little secret. Then it dawned on me.. a tree is enough. I don't want the roots visible on my skin. Because the entire symbolism of this darn tree is that others can only see my branches. Roots are hidden. And they're what makes you beautiful - the unseen parts of you. It's how lovers and loved ones connect to you, because they somehow wield the magic of being able to catch a glimpse under your hard ground. So I have this idea of one day looking at the tiny tree that'll be on my skin, and I'll know that my roots are inside my entire body. I'll be okay knowing that I can be beautiful in the inside and continue to seem so plain on the outside. Nobody else may see that, and maybe that's okay. People see what you want them to see, you know? Roots are sacred. Nobody knows you until you let them. My branches may be dull, thin, and minuscule compared to your blossoming oak, but just maybe.. my roots are stronger. 

So there. If you made it this far, you're likely my mother or partner, but at the unlikely chance that you're just a stranger who stumbled across this post and understood a single sentence of my rambling nonsense.. Thank you. I appreciate the time, And I hope that maybe one day, you'll be in a uncontrolled situation and you'll use this tree analogy to strength yourself without guilt or worry. Because you'll know that everything of strength remains to be hidden.

- Anne x

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