People are always commenting and asking about my tattoo: "How long did it take?", "Wow, that's amazing. Who did it?", "It's beautiful. Did it hurt?" and so forth. Yet, one of the most common questions I get is in regards to the large insect that roams the piece.
“Is that a fly?”
No. It's not a fly. It’s a cicada.
One spring, I went to Chicago for a wedding. Cicadas were endless and every night they’d play music in my ears as I’d sit with a brew in hand. That same spring, I left a bad relationship of 4 years. That same summer, they were everywhere around me. One after the other. They were in my conversations, my mind, my ear. I remember being drunk in my friends garage and out of no where we heard a strange noise and a crash in the dark. Laying on the ground, we found the source: the corpse of a cicada. One morning I was leaving a friends house after a relatively emotional and eventful night. On the door was another cicada. This time, alive and peaceful. Green and beautiful.
At the bars, everyone would tell me about their encounters with them. I was always amazed and intrigued, listening to their stories in awe because they always appeared to them in some bizarre, interesting fashion.
After taking a road trip, by myself, down to NC to visit my cousin, I permanently got one tattooed on me. While Dave and I were simply talking and as he was in the process of departing a negative relationship, he came across another corpse of a cicada and gifted it to me as well. It was the last one I’ve come across since.
It was a hot summer, in more ways than one. These creatures are known for their symbolism of rebirth, self discovery, and life. They are born in the trees, they bury themselves in the roots of the ground, and when they’re ready, they emerge once more and make their homes on the trees. As nymphs, they shed their exoskeletons they carried with them underground in isolation. They become fresh, new, reborn. They grow their wings to live again. The cicada, in some sense, is what brought me here. To motherhood, to my Maddox, to Dave, and to a much better life.
So no, it’s not a fly. It's so much more.