It’s More Than Just a Sock

Guest Blog:

It’s More Than Just a Sock

by Darcy Flierl

It’s a sleepy, over cast Saturday morning and today I will be volunteering at our local mall to spread the word about the important impact having family meals can have on your children.   My first words to my husband before my eyes even open, “Do you think if I get more tattoos on my ankle that I’m going to look really dumb when I’m 70”?

I recently decided that I was going to get a “sock” on my ankle. A “sock” which I was mistakenly calling a “Sleeve”, which would have been correct, if I were referring to my arm, is basically a tattoo that occupies the location of your socks. Throughout the years I’ve gotten a few tattoos to mark important moments in my life, with the exception of the “Stork carrying a baby” AKA “Ink Blob” located on the left side of my tummy, all my body art is on my ankle. Oh, and by the way ladies, those of you considering getting a tattoo on your stomach and wanting to one day have children, it’s NOT a good idea.

I have my 22 year old Tie Dye Butterfly that represents my favorite Grateful Dead Song.IMG_8627 I’ll never forget waking up to my mother and grandmother trying to wash it off of me in total disbelief and the comments that followed. “Darcy, only bikers and whores get tattoos!” and “ Now you will never be employable!”.   I think they were truly scared for my future and that I had possibly ruined my life. Never mind the years of skipping school, drinking, and a variety of other potentially life-altering behaviors….. that tattoo was certainly going to be the end of my potential.   Fortunately, I’ve never been one to buy into other people’s opinions or fears. A couple years later while struggling through college, before Jerry Garcia had even died, I remember looking at that tattoo and having a melt down over the fact that one day I was going to be old and wrinkled and so would my butterfly. This even happened before I had any idea the future fate of my stork!

I was traumatized enough to wait another decade before getting anymore art. It was the year after my grandmother, and step father had died, the tragic and unexpected loss of my best friends son, and the cancer that had stolen the life of a good friend , and I found myself in Thailand, processing all this loss. My favorite number was 9, and I had discovered 9 was the lucky number for Thai folks. It meant, “If you fall down, you get back up and you keep walking”. So, of course, one day after a cup of coffee and a thai massage, I was in a thai tattoo studio getting my number 9 and the word associated with it, imprinted neatly next to my butterfly.

Fast forward another decade, the day I told my daughters father I wanted a divorce……. How did I cope with the fear, the adrenaline, the anger, the sadness, the loss……………. Welcome the Otter to my ankle. IMG_8616The otter is a loving and playful mammal whom has ability basically to rip your eyeballs out with its claws. For those whom believe in spirit animals or totems, otters entice you to ask yourself if you are “having enough fun?”, they are fearless and ferocious and make excellent friends. After 11 years of feeling like a caged bird, I was ready to BE the otter!

The next year, my friend whom I had traveled Thailand with had just become certified to practice permanent make up. She brought her tools to South America on a trip in which we were both going to visit my mom. So, one night when my daughter and mom fell asleep, I convinced her to let me be her first tattoo. It’s likely I was her only tattoo.   This was my final and probably my most meaningful tattoo. It was another number, 1312, with the 3 being a Hindi “OM” symbol. “Om” for me is the sacred symbol and sound of GOD, and 1312 was the address of my childhood home. It was the home that all my childhood memories reside. It was the home that I sat next to my grandfather for weeks until he transitioned to the next place and where I did the same for my grandmother. It was the home that was going to be my daughter’s one day. It was the family home that got caught up in my divorce and cost my mother, my daughter and me more pain than just the loss of a financial investment.

Yesterday, I sat in the planning meeting for today’s big event. I was asked by a committee member, “What are you going to wear today” and half jokingly replied, “I don’t know, but I’m going to attempt to hide my tattoos”.   I realize now, my tattoos are the story of my pain and my joy and I’m not going to hide them today, or tomorrow. Fortunately, my mom and grandma were wrong about one thing, I am totally employable and on occasion, even employed. I think after volunteering today, I might even take the time to add to my story.

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Darcy Flierl is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Addictions Professional, and Certified Yoga Teacher currently offering individual and family psychotherapy in Stuart, Florida.  She also enjoys teaching in the Human Services Department as an Adjunct Instructor for Indian River State College and is Consultant for Non Profits along the Treasure Coast.

She has held board positions on for a variety of local and statewide agencies from the Department of Juvenile Justice’s State Advisory Group to CHARACTER COUNTS! and others.  Darcy has received a variety of awards for her community work such as;  Soroptimist’s Rising Star Award, the Community Champion Award from the United Way and for community advocacy from the Tobacco Free Partnership and was a 2013 Nominee as a Woman of Distinction.

Besides working to make Martin County a healthier place, she donates her time doing River Advocacy for the Indian River Lagoon and raising awareness about many issues effecting young people and families.  She treasures her time with her husband, and children attending local events and enjoying Martin County’s recreational opportunities.

For more information about Darcy you can visit her website at:  www.darcyflierl.com

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Fruit Stands are Ripe for Learning

Fruit Stands are Ripe for Learning

by Darcy Flierl

It was a Saturday unlike other Saturdays in Martin County. The cool temperatures offered a relief of the summer months which extended well into our fall season. Families were moved to begin the Christmas season. Perhaps that is why so many people felt compelled to stop at my six year old daughters avocado stand she set up with her daddy.

She had been begging us for months to let her start a “We Help Animals Club” that would result in her getting   “clients” that would allow her to walk their dogs on a regular basis. Of course that means, my husband and I would be walking these dogs with her on a regular basis – a little too much of a commitment when we both already have full time careers.

The idea of selling avocados was a direct result of our lemon tree not having any lemons. There we were with my daughter behind a table with a hundred or so avocados piled high and her daddy on the corner holding our homemade sign that read, “Avocados $1.00”. Car after car, people would stop to buy fresh produce from my little first grader. At times she had a line of 5 people deep wanting to purchase her goods. I watched as she would greet her customer, find out their needs, discuss the price of their purchase, take their money and extend her gratitude- which was often her jumping up and down as she would stuff the dollars into her pink fluffy piggy bank that sat on the table.   Some people would stop just to see what this little girl was selling and would decline the avocados. My daughter learned so many lessons with this experience.

Avocado Stand

This avocado stand was a lesson in learning about the joy of working, how to talk with people, the art of talking about money, how to accept rejection and ultimately a lesson in gratitude. Maybe the people most grateful were her parents. These passer -byers took the time to pull over, turn around, do U-turns and walk a block or so, simply to support a little girl’s efforts. I wonder if they know that on Saturday they made our community a better place to live, that they enriched the life of a child and a family, that they took time to make a connection and develop the strengths of a young girl.

I encourage you all to build positive relationships with young people and support their ideas. You can do this by letting the young boy down the street mow your lawn, by learning the names of the kids in your neighborhood and taking the time to greet them by name or simply stop by the next lemonade stand or in our case, avocado stand.

My daughter sold out of Avocados that day and with each avocado sold-she became a stronger, more powerful, healthier and valuable part of our community.

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Darcy Flierl is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Addictions Professional, and Certified Yoga Teacher currently offering individual and family psychotherapy in Stuart, Florida.  She also enjoys teaching in the Human Services Department as an Adjunct Instructor for Indian River State College and is Consultant for Non Profits along the Treasure Coast.

She has held board positions on for a variety of local and statewide agencies from the Department of Juvenile Justice’s State Advisory Group to CHARACTER COUNTS! and others.  Darcy has received a variety of awards for her community work such as;  Soroptimist’s Rising Star Award, the Community Champion Award from the United Way and for community advocacy from the Tobacco Free Partnership and was a 2013 Nominee as a Woman of Distinction.

Besides working to make Martin County a healthier place, she donates her time doing River Advocacy for the Indian River Lagoon and raising awareness about many issues effecting young people and families.  She treasures her time with her husband, and children attending local events and enjoying Martin County’s recreational opportunities.

For more information about Darcy you can visit her website at:  http://www.darcyflierl.com

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