Jen Brook

I consider myself an artist trapped inside the body of one who cannot paint...so instead, I model... www.jenbrook.com

Ink to make me think

Many people already know that in my last week living, working and travelling in Australia, I decided I was going to tattoo myself with words to make me remember. So I did. I went to the studio next door to my grotty hostel in Cairns and asked the man behind the counter to colour on me. 

I was on a short waiting list and spent three long days secretly stressing, making several trips to the bathroom and googling tattoo horror stories from hell. Shaking with fear but loving every second, the pain was the good kind of hurt. 

Open Your Eyes" was written on me in 2009 as a reminder to myself that there is more to the world than my hometown…and a nod to the phrase "if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is”. These two realisations I discovered whilst living in Oz. I brought them home with me and I’ll carry them with me wherever I go. Life lessons never leave and neither do tattoos. 

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I have never felt the need for a tattoo so I assumed that this would be my first and last. It was never on my bucket list and I didn’t go through school craving the day I could legally get one. The fact I then had one, was no more than a celebration of symbolism, than for the fact it was an actual ‘tattoo’. I still care not for being branded ‘a tattooed person’ and I haven’t since felt the well documented addiction for more. Hidden behind my hip, I regularly forget that it’s there and has never been an issue when modelling. 

So how did I come to get a second, five years later? Strangely enough…the story begins the year after the first one arrived. 

Upon my return to the UK in 2009, I used the experience I had gained travelling to achieve a full time job in retail management. I was happy for six months…but then it all went terribly wrong. 

As always, I try to be honest in my blogs and share with you what I can. But this time, with all my strength, all I can say is that 2010 was not my finest hour. I was at my lowest point; a time in my life that I do not look back on fondly, yet I wouldn’t take back for the world. My experiences and general outlook over those months have taught me how to be the person I am today and to appreciate my life for what it can be. 

During one of those grey days, one of my best friends Rachael rang me. She had always been there for me to make me eat, to make me talk and to make me get out of bed some days. This time she was on the end of the phone just to sing. Bob Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds’ was playing on the radio and she was singing loudly down the line to me “don’t worry, about a thing, cause every little thing’s…gonna be alright!" I laughed so hard with tears down my face. 

Fast forward four years on and I’m 100% healthy…bar the terrible diet and cravings for Twixes almost every hour. I think clearly, love my life and don’t consider myself at risk of going backwards. I don’t advertise the fact that I once had mental health issues, in fact it’s taken me nine paragraphs to say the word ‘depression’. It’s a term overused and not really understood, so I try to avoid it in general. But I’m good now, really good and that’s all that matters to me.

Yet I’ve never forgotten that song.

I’ve spent the last year or so blogging about ‘finding my wings’. I’ve shared the breakdown of my eight year relationship, the recovery and revival of my heart, the adventures I’ve had flying solo, touring the country and going on my first ever date. I’ve done so much for the first time in the last twelve months and learnt so much that this summer, I thought it was time to celebrate. 

So on my own wing, I wanted the three little birds that Bob sings about. A constant reminder that I’d found mine and was using them…and that every little thing is always gonna be alright. 

I have the creative world of modelling and photography to thank for rescuing me, along with good friends and family. To be tattooed by a fellow model made the inking even more symbolic to me. 

Thank you model/tattooist/artist Angela Dalton at Inflicted by Ink, for permanently marking me with my wings. Thank you Rosie Hardy for capturing them so beautifully on the last day of summer overlooking the city I consider my new home. 

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Behind the scenes at golden hour with the ever inspiring and beautiful Rosie: 

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Lindsay…I told you I’d do it when I was happy :) Merry wedding day my girl, your mate is smiling again. 


** Follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jenbrookmodelling and Twitter @Jen_Brook_Model & my website www.jenbrook.com **   

Matchmaker Part X: The First Morning

Part I: Matchmaker Matchmaker Make Me A Match.

Part II: Matchmaker Have You Made Me A Match?

Part III: Find Me A Find, Catch Me A Catch.

Part IV: One Message Received. 

Part V: Steak Night.

Part VI: First Base

Part VII: For One Night Alone, Brand New

Part VIII: That Talk.

Part IX: Red Red Wine

It wasn’t long before I realised that one more glass of wine would prevent me from driving home. I reached for the bottle and began pouring. Red red wine

The story continues…

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I woke up the next morning wrapped in his arms having only slept for a few hours. With the daylight cascading through the old wooden windows I realised it was sunrise, but only just. I could feel his heavy breathing on the back of my neck but the rhythm of it warned me he was still sleeping. I froze for a moment, unwilling to move; unsure if it was due to contentment or because what comes next was yet undecided.  

A tiny shuffle of my hips unexpectedly stirred him, as a small noise that can only resemble a snuffling hedgehog came from in front of me. Perfectly still, I held every muscle in my body in place for a few seconds…no, he was definitely still asleep. I was okay to think silently for a little longer.

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I spent the next forty minutes staring out of the window, watching the sky turning a bluey grey from the pinky red sunrise over time, hypnotized by the slow moving clouds. It wasn’t long before my awareness wandered to the birds nest on top of my head, the rotting squirrel that had died in my mouth and the sure fact that not everything about my body was sitting perfect beneath the sheets. Sucking my sideways belly back in and pulling my bedraggled loose hair out from under me, I contemplated my next move and whether a secret dash to the bathroom to freshen up was even possible without Mission Impossible drop rolls. 

His weighted arm was still over me and the last butt wiggle had stirred him too much. There was no chance I’d make it out undetected…and even if I did, what would happen then? I’d be stood by his bed practically naked in the harsh daylight of the rising sun, with no doubt of less words to say than a mute if I was spotted. There genuinely was no way to rectify this dire situation. He’d see me sneaking out, covered in sheet creases, hair like Hagrid and feeling far less appealing than I had just a few hours previous, having necked a bottle of red and been seen prancing around in the forgiving shadows of night time oozing confidence. 

I let out a small squeak of pathetic distress. 

Still watching through the glass, my worries suddenly left me. This was a moment that meant something, one worth remembering…in case it all changed. 

I looked at his perfect stubbly face, ran my fingers over his perfect warm chest, glanced down at his perfect…tanned fingers twitching over the bed covers and took hold of them. He grasped them softly in his light sleep, rolled me over without opening his perfect green eyes…and perfectly spooned me. 

Within seconds, an unsolicited solitary salty tear made its way down my crimson cheek as I cried a single one to myself, quietly knowing that this was more than something symbolic. That lonesome tear stood for something beyond my control, for something perhaps I wasn’t as prepared to greet than I had first thought, for something I had been trying to shed for too long and now here it was unexpectedly. Quietly with confusion, with completion and for the contradiction of everything I had been hoping for in the close past, the lonesome tear rolled off my cold chin. 

As I took a moment to compose myself, allowing the silly salt to dry up for shame, my glassy eyes noticed little white fluff balls dancing at the window as they fell without purpose from the sky. “Snowflakes? Oh, will winter never end?" I thought, still feeling foolish for the water shed. 

I was running my hand across his unfamiliar body when I noticed the downy whiteness was not morning snow, but dandelions floating in the wind. Spring was coming and soon there’d be flowers again. 

I smiled and rubbed my face into the pillow. I had the man that I’d been waiting for wrapped around me; a man who adored me and would do anything for me. A man who wanted me for being me, just me…and I wanted him just as much. Then I remembered. This is what it’s like to be happy. 


** Follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jenbrookmodelling and Twitter @Jen_Brook_Model & my website www.jenbrook.com **  

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