"She flies with her own wings."

It's a quote that I've been living by for the past few years. One that fits my life so perfectly that I've  even contemplated getting it tattooed on my body. I've looked at countless examples of it on other people, I've created designs of it in a thousand and one different fonts, I've written on myself in Sharpie to get a sense of what it would actually look like, I've thrown my idea out to friends and family to see what they think of it, etc.

But I've finally come to terms with the fact that tattoos just aren't my thing. I get all itchy just thinking about having something permanently stuck on me, no matter how much meaning the ink holds. Committing to one thing for the rest of my life scares the ever living daylights out of me. And then what about the symmetry of it all? I'm OCD enough that I couldn't have it on one side of my body because I'd feel all lopsided (I'm insane, it's fine) and I can't be feeling that way my entire life can I?

No. So I finally settled on the fact that I wasn't going to get the quote as a tattoo. Cool, got it.

But I still wanted it to hold meaning and be a visible source of inspiration for me. I wanted it to be something that could still be on my body every day, something that others could see and in turn ask me about its meaning, but also something that didn't have to be stuck in the same spot forever. And that's when I decided on getting the personalized gold bar necklace instead.

They've become quite popular over the last couple years. Celebrities get their children's names engraved on them. Some get their husbands initials interlocked with their own with a heart in between. And others write out a word that holds importance to them. I had always loved both the look and the idea behind them, but it wasn't really until this past season of The Bachelor when the idea finally clicked. Clare (you know, the crazy one that I for some reason still loved who was the runner up) has one with the word "creer", the Spanish word meaning "to believe" in English, written across hers. She wore it every day, with everything, and I fell in love. 

So I put my love for the necklace and my love for the quote together and decided that this would be my own version of a tattoo. Because even though it's written across a necklace instead of my skin, it still holds just as much meaning. And here's why:

My Nana died a few years ago, but before she did she had written a poem about monarch butterflies. At her funeral, my family played a video of her singing the poem on a laptop outside for everyone to watch. Sure enough, a beautiful monarch butterfly appeared and landed directly on the laptop screen while we were all watching her sing. I don't really believe in divine intervention but there isn't a single fiber of my being that can forget that magical moment. And that's when I first discovered my attachment to "wings".

Then we have my other grandmother who always used to take me over to one particular window in her house to watch the hummingbirds feed when I was a little girl. I would sit there in amazement as each one fluttered up to the feeder because I had never seen a pair of wings move so fast in my life. And there I had my second set of "wings". Ones that always bring me back to those special memories I have of growing up with my Grama.

The third set comes in the form of my amazing mother. She has been a daycare provider ever since I was born, working in the same classroom every single year. "The Bumblebee Room" is the name of hers. The classroom I went through as a toddler myself, ending up teaching in during high school and college, as well as the place where my mother showed me her passion for children, thus cultivating that same passion within me too.

Monarchs, hummingbirds, and bees; they all have wings. My Nana, my Grama, and my mother; they have all shaped so much of who I am today. And more importantly, each has showed me that being an independent woman who "flies with her own wings" is one of the most important things you can be in life. So with this quote, I not only fly with all of their wings, but also with my own. And with the word engraved on a gold bar around my neck everyday, I have the reminder to do just that.

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