Pain is Only a Symptom

I have been thinking about doing an update on the progress of the phoenix tattoo I began last June. I’m about 12 hours into the work and still have at least two more sessions to go. I won’t be posting pictures until it is completely done and healed, but I can honestly say it’s freaking GORGEOUS! My tattoo artist is creating a beautiful work of art, and I’m very honored to be the canvas. Jesse is A-maz-ing.

I got my first tattoo when I was 20 years old. I have a sweet little swan about the size of a 50 cent coin on my left hip. After the first, I was hooked. I got another tattoo about a year after the first, but 10 years passed before I began to get more. I have nine tattoos altogether now, with the phoenix still in progress. Most of my body art can be completely hidden under clothes. Only my “permanent jewelry” (a bracelet and wedding ring) can be seen with any regularity. Like most (all??) people who have gotten tattoos, I’ve been asked many times if getting the tattoos hurt. My usual answer is, “Of course. All tattoos hurt, just a matter of how much per individual and location.” Though the bracelet didn’t actually cause me pain, just annoyance.

When I discovered kink (BDSM) over 20 years ago, I was surprised and oddly relieved to find that experiencing pain could be pleasurable. I also found that emotional pain could be released through physical outlets. I once begged a former lover to continue to physically hurt me during one intimate occasion because at least the emotional pain I was feeling due to a failing relationship could have some sort of release. He wisely stopped but the moment did let him know just how much I was hurting from the other relationship. That moment is when I understood how cathartic physical pain could be.

Experiencing physical pain became a way for me to release emotional pain that had built up over my lifetime. I have sought kink relationships ever since that one moment to help me let go of past hurts and heal the scars others had left on my heart. Husband Darling is a wonderful and gentle lover. He does what he can to indulge my kinks, but inflicting pain doesn’t sit well with him. In the seven years we have been together, I’ve gotten more tattoo work, including my wedding band. The ritual of being tattooed had become a spiritual experience for me aside from the cathartic release pain always has been. What a powerful experience body modification is!

How do you make your tattoo artist cry? Start sobbing mid-session. Yesterday’s tattoo session was painful both physically and emotionally. Jesse was hitting my metaphysical emotional center, and my mid-back seared with overwhelming pain. Tears were streaming down my face as I was finally able to grieve the loss of the relationship with Q’ouarin (Yeah, that happened recently, and no, I’m not discussing it). I’m feeling better today, but still a bit fragile from the experience and lack of sleep afterwards.

Each bit of art I’ve had stuck to my body has been worth every penny and all the pain. They mark different phases of my life, and the stories and memories I have during those times have been significant times for me. From coming of age to marrying the Love of my Life to celebrating transitions, I have something that will always remind me of where I was on my life’s Journey at various times. I am grateful for the catharsis of tattooing because it has helped me to heal in many ways.


It’s a new life for me

Every year I see and hear people say how the previous year was horrible or otherwise not positive. All the challenges that the Universe brings us are simply lessons to be learned in order to move forward. I cannot change my past, but I can learn from it and go forward hopefully a little wiser and with more discernment into my future. 2013 was a year of many lessons for me, and I go forth into 2014 with what I was taught through my experiences–good, bad, or indifferent–and hope that I meet each new lesson with grace and kindness. It’s a new day, a new year, a new life, and you know what? I AM feeling good.

Postcards from the Edge

Life has been full of changes this summer. With everything happening I haven’t taken much opportunity to write beyond in my private journal. Some of the changes I will be writing about and sharing in the weeks and months ahead; some will stay in my private journal as a personal reminder of what I’ve been able to overcome during the tumultuous recent months. For now I leave you all with this little gem that has recently come into my awareness. Some of these lessons were learned recently and hard-won. The Universe smacked me upside the head with the rest to make certain I remembered the lesson.