Evelyn Sophie: Independent Woman

I would feel better if you were a man and as independent as you are.

I stand in line at Reagan National, waiting to board my Southwest plane to Dallas. It was 40-degrees when I left my apartment this morning, but I dress plainly in jeans, my favorite color blotted flats, and a pink vintage t-shirt. In the fluorescent light, passersby can see my pale pink bra underneath. I fold my black jacket in my arms while my backpack pushes against the bar separating me from the boarding line to the gate attendant behind me.

A middle aged woman with blond waves next to me looks down at my right hand and smiles.

“Oh that’s interesting,” she says, pointing to my mood ring, now an Ohio River green. When I bought it in a thrift store in Louisville, I picked it out for its design (and I have always had a thing for mood rings – the bracelet on my left hand, which I stole from my mom, always emanates two mood stones with a pearl stone in the middle). I didn’t realize until later that the ring’s intricate silver design was in the shape of a dolphin. Who doesn’t love dolphins?

“It’s pretty,” she clarifies. I smile and say thanks. I acknowledge my normal reception to her intersection into my life. Usually I’m awkward, uttering a mild something or try to force a half-smile. But I’m finally leaving this DC life and heading towards the 80-degree, sunny weather of Dallas, where distant family also reside. I am happy even if tired from a 7 a.m. Saturday wake-up call. Continue reading


I Am a Rose of Sharon

I can’t stop my leg from shaking. The needle hasn’t even pricked my skin, and even though the tattoo artist in front of me is probably annoyed, he smiles.

“This is never going to look like a fleur de lis if you keep that up,” he jokes. My friend Britteny from work sits on the other side of me. She smiles, trying to reassure me. Everyone’s nervous their first time, she tells me with her pale blue eyes. It shouldn’t be natural to want to permanently imprint an image onto my body for the sake of art and beauty, for the sake of remembering where I came from.

I always wanted a tattoo, but because of its permanent effect, it took me four years to figure out where and what I wanted. I decided on a fleur de lis, a symbol of my hometown, Louisville, KY, named after the French King Louis XVI. Britteny encouraged me to use color so I chose my two favorite colors: blue and purple.

I finally calm down enough so that the tattoo artist can begin his work. He’s big with a short, gray beard, but a gentle touch. He outlines the French symbol on my ankle; I wince every time he nears the bone, but I do not cry. I never cry in public. I refuse to show weakness. It takes longer than I expect, but time passes quickly as Britteny tries to keep me calm, and I watch mesmerized by the needle. Continue reading