My mother told me I had to be 18 and out of her house before I do anything to my body.
I took that literally. Ear piercings weren’t enough. I wanted a tattoo. I wanted something on my body that meant something to me.
When I was 23, I got my first tattoo. It is the Japanese kanji (lettering) for ‘phoenix.’ Why ‘phoenix’? It means intelligence. Resilience. Beauty. All things I thought I possessed. I had come out of a 3 year relationship that almost killed me. I survived crazy portions of my childhood including a rape at 19. I survived my father dying. I survived suicidal ideations. I tell people this: “I earned this Phoenix on my back!”
My ex-boyfriend had one on his left forearm in Chinese. For while, I debated on getting it. He told me that I shouldn’t (Pro-tip: You don’t tell me what to do). But I went ahead and did it–my sister spoke Japanese and she confirmed the kanji.
If you divide my back into quadrants, my tattoo is vertical and in black ink. It’s drawn on me like a seal. Which is what I wanted. The needle on my skin was psychosexual. It hurt but it wasn’t a screaming pain like I thought it would be.
When I got this tattoo, I could see how people could be addicted to them. I have my next piece planned. The artist picked out. And a bestie to film it–because posterity.
Besides I have 4 picked out, and before I’m 40 I’m sure I’ll have all of them.
I’m a writer, after all.
Some things are just better said with ink.
[image from lancebane.com]