IWSG: The Boulder Tattoo Project

I don't have anything directly writing related to blog about for this Insecure Writer's Support Group post. I guess I'm tapped out this month. BUT, I do have something else to share.

Tonight I'm getting my tattoo for the Boulder Tattoo Project - a 200 participant-wide tattoo marathon building community and support for the arts. Basically, a brilliant/local artist wrote a poem about Boulder and everyone involved was assigned a word/phrase from the poem in a similar tattoo design (great article HERE). Artists from Claw and Talon Tattoo will work their asses off in a tattooing marathon that gets all 200 participants inked up in one week! Pretty crazy cool and I'm so amazed to be a part of it.

I've mentioned it before, but have never *really* written about the traumatic brain injury I got two years ago after hitting my head on a window. I won't go into the details, but hitting your head is NO JOKE. It's been two years of ups and downs - the biggest, tallest, longest roller coaster ride of my life. I wasn't able to write for several months. I had no focus. No energy. Along with the hiccups, I've had to refigure who I am. Because I'm different from the pre-TBI person...physically, emotionally, mentally. I'm still processing the changes and challenges and trying to find the lesson(s) in the whole thing. It's cliché, but it's one of those 'take it one day at a time' kind of things. I did get my writing back on track and gained an out-of-this-world-awesome agent and finished two novels since (yay!). So, there's that.

Fast forward to the Boulder Tattoo Project...

My phrase is: your mind stays.

The moment I read it, something clicked for me. I saw it scrolled in type print across my right forearm.


I had an idea of what the design would look like, but when I picked it up yesterday, I fell in love.


For me, the design signifies the mind is constant yet ever-changing.

Tonight I get it tattooed on my right arm - the same side I hit my head on. The same side that's been so effected by the injury.

There have been times during these past two years that despite my rational, logical brain I've felt I was losing my mind. Literally. Losing it. But the mind is so much more than the brain. The mind is consciousness and awareness and part of who I am. It's the same mind I was born with and the same mind I'll die with. It'll change. Evolve. Be challenged. Heal.

No matter how many loops the roller coaster has or if you happen to hit your head on a window, your mind can't be lost or stolen.

your mind stays...

My love affair with Boulder began when I was in college. My mother was living here and in one visit, I was hooked. When my husband decided to get his PhD, Boulder showed up on the radar and I asked (begged... demanded...) he apply to CU. He did. And got in. Whether we settle here permanently or move on, I love this town for better or worse, head injuries and all.

Here's the stanza with my phrase in it from 'Boulder Zodiac' by Anne Waldman:

feel irony of topological wrench, of negative ions'
clarity, your mind stays high and clear
leads the pack, you are Aries
the "agrarian worker" and you settled here
to see the future ride the terrifying Dark Age

Final product:

 *Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting IWSG - a monthly blog hop where writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!* Want to join? Sign up HERE.


  1. What a great idea! I am a Colorado gal too but have never heard of this. Maybe it will inspire me.

    I worked with students with disabilities for years and the effects of a TBI are indeed dramatic and traumatic with ramifications people often can't see and therefore don't always legitimize.

    1. Colorado is the best!

      And, yeah, I had no idea how 'controversial' TBI's are Julie! What rewarding work that must have been. As always, thanks for reading ;)

  2. Actually, that is one cool phrase.
    "The mind stays" will stay with me for a long time. Thank you so much

    1. I like it too :) Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Great blog entry Jessica! Thank you for sharing. I remember when you were trying to decide on your word or phrase. This is it! It makes SO much sense that it is yours.

    1. It was so meant to be... Thanks Chelsea <3

  4. Whoa. That is GORGEOUS. I love stars. And I love that ink nearly always has such a story. . . .

    1. Thank you Julie! This project has been amazing...so many stories.

  5. Great post! Thanks for steering me here.