Pain takes many forms, but is always transformative. Always always, we get through it somehow and come out differently.
Intentionally, I took on the pain of covering up an old tattoo on my back. The original was of decrepit demon wings, and symbolized a similar place in my life.
I likened the wings to a poem I had written about overcoming mental illness; I battled the beast that haunted me and ripped the wings from its back in victory, then wore them upon my own body as a means of escape when next the demon called.
It worked, for a time. I had battles to fight, and to win.
But years passed and I grew stronger, more grounded and wise, and came to befriend the demons who had brought me to this new expression of myself. I no longer needed fear attack; I had reconnected with my own strength.
Yet, still, the wings rested upon my back. They were a reminder of the choices I’d made and the ills I had endured, and took up space on my body while weighing on my heart.
“This isn’t who I want to be,” I decided.
So I found an artist who was capable and willing to transform the wings into something else: an expression of the person I am today.
For nearly nine hours, I sat under Audi’s gun, breathing and sighing, visualizing and affirming, fidgeting and talking … the pain was immense. It consumed me at times. I won’t go into details about other pain I have endured, but trust me when I say that this was unique. And I am strong.
But – it is done. The wings are now a galaxy, brilliant in depth and color, swirling above a bold mandala-decorated lotus flower with dream-catcher adornments ending in crystals and feathers.
Symbolically, the piece describes my soul’s journey through the muck, to blossom toward and into the cosmos, and the realization that in fact the cosmos have been and always will be part of my powerful expression.
Visually, it is striking.
The wings have taken flight, transforming, as everything does, into stardust.