When I was in my tween years I became infatuated with the X-Men comic books. I read Uncanny X-Men, X-Men Classic and just X-Men when they dropped the “Uncanny” part. I still have several boxes full of those comic books in my basement. I grew up with those superhero mutants and watched their stories unfold in the colorful pages of Marvel Comics.
There was one mutant in particular who was and still is my favorite: Phoenix, Dark Phoenix especially. The way Marvel used the idea of that mythical bird of fire and its power as wielded by Jean Grey is considered a classic among comic book nerds/geeks like myself. I was thrilled when they adapted that story a bit for the movie X-Men: The Final Stand. The fire element of Phoenix was a bit lacking for my tastes but the immense power she possessed was undeniable.
I love the idea of a bird of fire who rises from its own ashes in an infinite cycle of reincarnation. I have faced my share of struggles but have always manage to triumph, grow stronger and rise to the next challenge. The flames of renewal continue to burn fierce and bright in my life and I finally decided it was time to reveal those flames in a more visible way. My emotional battle scars are invisible and fade with time but I now have a badge of courage that is impossible to ignore: a Phoenix tattoo.
I’ve wanted to get a tattoo since I started going through my divorce over three years ago. Even after the divorce was final, I always found an excuse to put off the tattoo. Those excuses went up in smoke last week when I heard a song on Pandora for the first time entitled “The Phoenix” by Fall Out Boy.
It reminded me of how much I loved, idolized and believed in the powers of the Phoenix and I suddenly knew exactly what I wanted a tattoo of. I found a design I liked online and used Adobe CS2 to modify it to suit my specific tastes.
I made my appointment a week ago and went in yesterday, Friday, June 6th for my tattoo. The first question everyone asks (and which I researched the answer to myself online) is: “Did it hurt?” And I’ll give the same answer I read online: It depends on your pain tolerance. I’ve had two kids and was in labor for over 11 hours with both of them so a tattoo was nothing in comparison! I’d describe getting a tattoo as a slight burn or sting but it wasn’t enough to bother me. I sat in the chair calm and relaxed and played an app on my phone for the hour and fifteen minutes the entire process took.
When the tattoo was complete, I was thrilled with the result!
It came out even better looking than I’d expected it and I was so proud of myself for finally getting it! As I got up from the chair and gathered my stuff the tattoo artist said “Welcome to the club.” That made me feel ridiculously cool and hot at the same time. There was no way anyone was going to miss seeing my beautiful tattoo from that point on and that was more than fine with me!
To properly show off my Phoenix tattoo, I did a little photo shoot last night with my trusty tripod and the timer on my camera. The red Pretty Woman dress I bought from Parke Place Boutique in Amesbury, MA during my last visit went perfectly with my tattoo and helped my fire burn a bit brighter.
Now whenever I need a bit of encouragement or a reminder of my own strength, all I have to do is glance down at my left shoulder. The eyes of the Phoenix look back at me and the flames of her body and wings reveal that the flames of renewal will continue to light my way and give me the power I need to soar through the universe with grace and determination.