I have the word Lumiére tattooed on my left forearm, which is French for “light”. When people notice this for the first time, they’re always curious and I’ve noticed I have slightly varying answers dependent on who is asking. Here’s the full reason:
I’ve always been one to question things, and sometimes I have difficulty believing in solid conclusions. I always feel as though things can change or there’s something more that might be missing. I guess you could call me a classic over-thinker. I don’t even realise I do this most of the time, this is just what I do. But it does have an impact, both on myself and those around me.
“Lumiére” pulls me out of my natural inclination to doubt or overthink. It reminds me that uncomfortable is temporary, that I have grown through a lot in my short 25 years and that through this growth I’m prepared for anything before me. In glancing at this tattoo I shift my thinking to choose the light.
It’s important to emphasise that this is always a choice, it’s never based off feelings or emotions. If I waited to “feel” good about something, not only would I be waiting a long time, but the light wouldn’t be seen at all. It has to be pursued.
I was raised by my beautiful Grandparents, and growing up without parents means I grew up a little differently. I always felt a little bit different. While still very young I had a slightly different perspective than most children around me, but didn’t then know why. I had the best childhood; memories filled with laughter and love and so many experiences I’m incredibly grateful for.
My Grandparents went above and beyond to step in and bless me with such a strong start to life. I have never gone without and will be so eternally grateful for every single sacrifice they made. Words will always be inadequate to describe a love like this – a love purely sacrificial and selfless. That’s the love they have always shown me.
However, at times it has been difficult mentally. We can’t be protected from the need to learn and to grow. I have to choose how I consciously process things, and I honestly do believe that my natural inclination to question is rooted in my differences. It’s easier to question when “normal” or “common” isn’t at all your own experience. My personal truth is that I grew up quickly when I learnt the heavier side to life that many people do not experience until a lot later.
People have always spoken in surprise when learning parts of my story; “I would never of guessed”, “I don’t know how you carry that.” But with my story I’ve never known any different – it’s just a part of me. I think it goes without saying it “should” have looked very differently, but thinking about the “should” doesn’t help anything. Imagine if we applied the “shouldn’t have happened/so unfair” card to every aspect of our lives. All I can do is choose to process the occasional doubt and questioning in a way that lifts me rather than drowns me.
When I’m having a moment where I start feeling a bit uneasy, before any full-blown doubt kicks in I capture these thoughts. I hit the pause button on my fast-firing mind and try to speak to myself like a friend would. I speak life and affirmation into situations rather than by default choosing the doubt and skepticism. And by considering another perspective, by speaking an alternative truth, the positive is usually what I end up choosing. The light illuminates the shadows and shows the doubts for what they really are. Sometimes an imbalance is real and it takes a little time to breathe life into thoughts, but the important part is that we get there eventually. Surround yourself with people that will help you do this too.
I carry my experiences with the hope of it lifting me to lift others. Everything we go through is an opportunity to learn and connect. I’ve had many precious moments where sharing what felt like a minor detail to me, gave insight and clarity to someone who was struggling with foreign emotions. I’m a pretty transparent person when it comes to details; I never undermine an opportunity to share and to lift another. In making our struggles and differences known, isolation diminishes and the feeling of difference itself fades away. If anything I’ve walked through helps another person then I consider that the greatest blessing. That’s the core reason of why I write.
Without growing through certain experiences and learning new truths, I wouldn’t have a deep sense of empathy and perception. I wouldn’t be driven to have a heart for helping others. I wouldn’t be fiercely loyal or bold in holding onto love and treasuring those closest to me. I wouldn’t hold onto family values so strongly and be so motivated to being the best version of myself for the benefit of my own future family. I wouldn’t know how to address mental health, walk through aspects of that, and now be an advocate for stressing the importance of it.
There is always light, always goodness to choose to hold onto. Sometimes I need reminders of the light; we all do from time to time. But learning to see with a greater perspective than the one right in front of us; choosing to look to the light changes everything. Combine perspective with gratitude and it lifts everything. That’s what Lumiére means to me.