Happy to let me sleep...

I had failed back surgery 11 years ago and since then have suffered with chronic back pain and then was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Both give me chronic nerve pain, mobility issues, increased migraines and exhaustion that you can't even imagine and has affected my whole life.

I was made redundant because I was so unreliable, lost friends that I have had since moving to Bournemouth 21 years ago, lost my busy social life, including performing burlesque.

These changes and the unpredictability of my symptoms have led to depression and anxiety and additional symptoms caused by the amount of medication I am on.

When I was experiencing a particularly dark period my Mum wrote to me and put in the card, "You come from a long line of strong women", which really struck a chord with me.

It made me not only think of my Mum and my Grandma, who was a strong woman, but also the other strong women who have stayed in my life. They have been there, through the good and the bad, they check in on me, are happy to visit and if I'm having a bad day are happy to lie in bed with me and chat or watch a film, or just happy to let me sleep. True friendship and extended family!

The strong women start with my Mum and Grandma; I never got to meet my Grandma as she died when my Mum was 12 years old from breast cancer. My Grandad remarried and it resulted in my Mum basically being told to leave when she was 16.

She ended up in London where she eventually met my biological father. Upon finding out she was pregnant and telling him, he left his job and flat and disappeared.

My Mum fought to have me, and struggled financially and emotionally until she met my step dad (who is ultimately the only dad I have ever known or wanted). To know someone loves you that much is really overwhelming.

So this tattoo celebrates all my strong women: My mum (the words), grandmother (breast cancer ribbon), Ally from Burlesque (the flowers), Michelle (who I call Bill and has been my best friend since secondary school), Kat (known since college) and Leah (the Manchester bee - I met her when living in the same block of flats). The butterfly represents new beginnings and purple is the colour that is associated with Fibromyalgia.

written by becky