Today, my dear friend Phoenix is defining herself and her body with her first tattoo, with the word "Entheos," which means, everything moves toward God.
Ya'll want to know how I met Phoenix?
Phoenix and I met in our college Intro to Voice and Movement class. We were assigned dense and hard to understand Kristin Linklater's Freeing the Natural Voice which included Andre Slob's nightmare inducing illustrations of fat shapeless people with their heads floating away on strings. I read the book chapters, sometimes twice a night and still couldn't understand what the heck I was reading. All I knew was that if I stared at the pictures any harder, my brain would float towards the ceiling, requiring me to fetch it with a sharp stick, which was something I really didn't want to do, especially since a brain poked at with a sharp stick might lead me to one day not be able to write as wonderfully as I doaweouafawfhwoef. When we would be quizzed the next day in class about the reading, I would raise my hand and answer only to be told, "No," so the professor could call on someone else. The second time of being absolutely wrong, I made sure I sat in the very back and never raised my hand again. But to my left, was always Phoenix. While I sat in the back to disappear, she, tiny, blond, with a ponytail and glasses, sat in the back so she could observe.
It wasn't until our second semester of sophomore year that we felt comfortable with one another. We both took Religious Philosophy, a class where we got to learn the basics of the major religions and contrast and compare and philosophize them. We sat next to each other because we knew no one else in the class.
People who are survivors don't immediately recognize fellow survivors. We grow up to be cautious, wary, suspect. We are aloof.
I learned Phoenix was religious! My favorite kind, too! The ones who believe that love and tolerance should be given to all people, not just fellow believers, and she also never talked about it unless you asked! This tiny, blond, seemingly meek girl could also kick my ass if she wanted to. Under her too big shirts and holding up her jeans was a black belt! But, needless to say, she only used her powers for good.
We learned we had similar experiences, that we cared about the same things, that we had similar views. But my favorite thing about her then, and now, is how I'm constantly learning life lessons from her.
In our Philosophy of Religion class, I finally figured out a way how best to describe Phoenix. I took a lot of things I learned in the class into my heart, and left out a lot of things I didn't particularly care for. So here we go:
Phoenix has been here before. She's done the Earth thing dozens of times. And God/The Creator/Whateveryouwanttocallit, said, "Hey P, can you do me a solid?"
And Phoenix said, "Um, totally! You are like, awesome and all knowing, and stuff, and I am totally gonna be your servant and serve you whatever you want!"
"Cool." G/TC/W said. "I like, need you to teach some really important lessons to people about forgiveness, acceptance, love, tolerance - "
"Oh, the biggies?"
"No worries! I got your back!"
"But P, listen, it's gonna be super hard this time. Like, for reals."
"Yeah, take a look at this chart I made up of what this life entails."
And Phoenix took a look. "Shiiiiiiiiiit."
"That's a ton of heartbreak, G/TC/W. That is a TON of the sads I'm gonna have to go through. Wait. What're these two big hearts? They're close together."
"Can I get a hint?"
"Well, since you'll forget everything once you're born, yeah. Here's a hint. They're both guys. And you're gonna teach them amazing, wonderful things. The first one is going to be super awesome and then, in the end, feel like a failure, but you gotta hear me out, it's so not. It's huge what you do here. Very important. And if it wasn't for the first heart, you wouldn't know the second, even bigger heart."
"What're all these colons and end parentheses?"
"Those are emoticons. They're smiling faces using punctuations."
"Oooh, totally trippy, but I get it. I got a ton of those all over this thing, dude. What do those mean?"
"Those, P, are all the people you're going to teach and touch in some way and you're gonna affect everyone for the better."
"How many are on there?"
"Well, now it's at 4.5 million, but it could grow."
"Jeez! I'm gonna touch 4.5 million? Hand sanitizer's gonna be invented by then right?"
"Most of them you're not even going to be able to physically touch."
"I love it when you speak in riddles!"
"P, I love you. You're one of my faves, like, for reals, so don't go tellin nobody. And you're the only one of my peeps who is strong enough to go this route. Now, I totally get it if you want to think it over. This is a lot of responsibility. This is tough. "
"Naw, man. I can do it. I totally got your back. That's what I'm here for!"
And they high fived. G/TC/W then pulled her into a hug. "I love you. Stay strong. Remember that I am love and I created people out of love and everyone comes back home because of all the love we share."
"Everything moves towards love. Everything moves towards you. Everything moves toward God/TC/W. Dude! I LOVE that! I'm gonna have to remember to write that down!"
And today, she is.
Happy first Tattoo, Phoenix! I love you.