I got this tattoo when I was 18. I had the idea and gave the artist references and instructions; geometric phoenix, wings outstretched etc. I’d love to say there was some symbolism about the phoenix, rising from the ashes of being ill, and entering the world as well as entering adulthood. But honestly I just liked the art and loved being a bit out there (though who’s to know the subconscious reasons for our actions).
I wouldn’t get this tattoo now but I definitely don’t regret it. It reminds me of how bold I was at such a vulnerable point in my life, when now I’m the strongest I've ever been, and am much more into daintiness and subtlety. I didn’t care and I think this was more of a statement about that. Showing the world I can do exactly what I want, pushing back against defeatism.
It’s crazy to look back and see a strength that we didn’t realise we had. I think that’s how tattoos and photos are similar; they are both visual reminders of a time in our lives. And even though we maybe wouldn’t repeat what we did then, what we wore or who we were with, it’s important to look back on and honour it, to see things we couldn’t see at the time.
Photos are a little bit like tattoos of memories. So, choose your artist carefully.