Mark of the Survivor

"What is the most popular tattoo design I can get inked?"
"The Mark of the Survivor."
"What does it mean?"
"You've made the decision to rise up through your pain."
  Every tarant responds to trauma in different ways: some fight, some freeze, some fawn, some flee.


To reflect the unique nature of an individual's life, the Mark of the Survivor varies in terms of style, shape, and color.  These tattooed wings vary from fluffy and feathered to slick and smooth.  A set could have anywhere from 1 to 6 wings depending on design.  Typically, a person will choose 2 or 4.   For all of these differences, the Mark of the Survivor is always a set of wings.  We may feel different pains and carry different experiences but we fly together.  We survive together.


Regardless of responses to pain, there is the option to rise. This rising, or Becoming, takes many forms.  Some will shout, "I AM BECOMING!" from the top of every mountainside. Others will whisper it in the climax of a storm.  Every path is valid.   When making the decision to Become, tarants make a personal vow they will choose to stand their sacred ground.     There are both private and public vow renewals.  These are typically called the Second Becoming.  During this time, a tarant may find a place away from the noise of the city and meditate.  Once they feel centered and at peace within themselves, they'll return to their tattooist to add accent details in glitter or luminescent ink.   By this point, some tattoos may have started to spread.  These accents are not meant to conceal the changes time has on the body but rather celebrate what the tattoo represents for the individual.


A sapient being living in Tarantellia.

Types of Back Wings

This list is non-exhaustive.  The Mark of the Survivor has more styles than creatures with wings.  
  • Feathered
  • Slick & Smooth
  • Bone
  • Mechanical
  • Stained Glass
  • Singed
  • Crystal
  • Tattered
  • Healing
  • Outline and filled with patterns (ie, the night sky, flowers, leaves, etc)

Color Available for Wings

  • Black, brown, white, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink
  • Metallic: Gold, Silver, and previous colors
  • Luminescent (in ascending rarity): Pink, Blue, Yellow, Green, Orange, Purple
  • Glittering (added in private during a renewal ceremony)


This article has significant inspiration from the works of researcher and storyteller, Brené Brown. There is a specific reference to her mantra: "Don't shrink. Don't puff up. Stand your sacred ground."   I think everyone has things they are growing with, from, or against. Perhaps you have a different preposition that fits your life better. That's your wings.

Cover image: Golden Clouds, speckled by Lauren Nelson


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