Fangirl Thursday: Choosing Your Mark

“You think it’s a weakness? Make it a strength. It’s a part of you … So use it.”


“It feels like everyone’s growing up all around me…”
“Use it.”


Two words. Five letters.

My story.

I always knew I wanted a tattoo. I love the idea of something meaning so much to you that you want to etch it into your body—to make it part of you. But for years, I never felt sure enough of what I wanted to say—what I wanted to be tied to forever—to do it.

This year changed that.

This year changed a lot of things.

I don’t know a single person who is going to walk away from the last 14 months unscathed. This year is going to leave its mark on all of us forever.

Today I chose the mark it’s going to leave on me.

And instead of this year leaving a scar, I chose a story.

And it’s a story that has its roots farther back in my life than I even realized at first.

The first time those two words wound their way into my heart, it was 2011. I was watching Castle, and hearing Javier Esposito tell Kate Beckett that she had the power to turn what she saw as a weakness into a strength by using it released something inside of me that had always been waiting to be set free. After “Kill Shot” ended, I went on my LiveJournal (I’m old!) and wrote in a way I’d never done before—connecting Beckett’s story with my story, opening up about my struggles with anxiety, taking my vulnerabilities and using them.

That was the first step on the road that led me here—to NGN. A few months after I wrote that post, I started this website to keep doing that kind of writing. And I’ve never looked back.

Then, almost 10 years later, I heard those words again in the form of Moira Rose telling Stevie Budd on Schitt’s Creek to use her feelings of being stuck and scared that life was passing her by to stand in the spotlight and share that truth with her little corner of the world. And there it was again, that feeling of being called to write, to share my truth with my little corner of the world.

To use it—to use all my big feelings and messy truths to write things that feel honest and to give others a light to help themselves out of the darkness. Because if I can do it, so can you.

So I used it. In the midst of dark days and crippling self-doubt and anxiety and depression, I wrote. I took what I felt and I shared it here, and with each post, it got easier. Every time I wrote, the darkness of this last year receded a little. Every time I’ve allowed myself to be vulnerable, I’ve been reminded that I’m not alone.

Every time I use it, I’m better for it.

I have big feelings, and I’ve never been good at hiding them. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and everything about me is intense.

For most of my life, those things seemed like weaknesses.

But now I get to be reminded every day that I can make them strengths. That they’re a part of me, and I can use them.

And when I use them, they’re my superpower.

Using those traits makes me a better, braver writer. It makes me the kind of friend who loves and cares with everything she has. It makes me a person who stands in her truth in the hope that maybe she can make someone else feel less alone.

This is me, standing in my truth. And my truth is that this year tried hard to break me, but it didn’t succeed. I’m not the same person I was 14 months ago, and that’s OK. This year is an important part of my story, but it’s my story. And I get to choose what that story looks like.

Today felt like the end of one chapter and the start of a new one—with plenty of references to the chapters that came before.

Two words. Five letters.

My mark.

The fun of Fangirl Thursday was always sharing our stories with each other, so let’s share! Tell me about your tattoos if you have them, your dream ones if you want them, or any mantras from fandom you keep close to your heart!

4 thoughts on “Fangirl Thursday: Choosing Your Mark

  1. This is great, Katie! You made me a little teary-eyed reading this. I loved hearing your tattoo story, and I love so much your choice of tattoo, it’s very you and it’s wonderful. I’m so happy for you!

    I have thought about getting a tattoo but I’ve never found a phrase or image that I felt deeply enough to want on my skin permanently, and wasn’t totally sure if I wanted one or not despite thinking tattoos in general were pretty cool. I will probably be thinking about it a little harder over the next year or two though, because I’m starting to lean more and more towards getting one someday if I can ever decide on what to get.

    • Thank you so much bb!

      I’ve had approximately 17 different tattoo ideas over the last few years, but then the idea of doing one related to writing came to me one day and then this quote was immediately what jumped into my mind. And suddenly it was like I couldn’t imagine my body without it. So waiting until that feeling happens—if it happens—is exactly the right call. And if you ever do decide to get one and have questions about pain/taking care of it/all the details, I’ll be your trusty guide! 😉

  2. Katie!! This is PERFECT. I’m so glad you found such a personal way to channel the last 14 months into art (to use them!). When I think about a tattoo I tend to lean toward getting the outline of the mountains I could see from my window in Sitka. I haven’t felt decisive enough to go for it yet, but I’m so happy you did.

    • Thanks Kelly! And that sounds like a beautiful idea! But I know what you mean about feeling decisive enough—it’s a big deal and you want to be 100% sure!

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