My Phoenix Rising from the Flames tattoo is one of my largest pieces on my body in regards to surface space. And it's a positive message and generally considered to be a good metaphor and aspiration. But it is on my thigh, from just above my knee to my waistline, which means not a lot of people will get the full presentation, which is fine by me because my tattoos are personal first even though they are on public display to varying levels.
My latest tattoo might be a bit more controversial. Nothing like my anarchist tattoos which can take some explaining but they're on my chest which I don't bare that often.
The newest addition to my collection is a bit larger than life rendering of a cockroach on my forearm. Actually depending on the species he may be a bit small.
So why a cockroach?
The concept has a lot in common with the Phoneix and it is about survival, which has been a constant theme in my life and with my tattoos.
"Never Give Up-Perservere" is the translation of the one on my calf, which ironically or maybe not so ironically was carved into to remove a malignant cancer.
"Misery Loves Company" (in Latin a nod to Mephistopheles) and "I am the Company Misery Loves" directly below it refers to some of the trials I've been through in my life but more as an inspiration when I am up against a difficult challenge, such as running 50K at Burning Man or not drowning by way of turning my back on a sneaker wave in Iceland or swimming from Alcatraz.
In the book Revolt of the Cockroach People, an autobiographical novel by Oscar Zeta Acosta, cockroaches are used as a metaphor for oppressed and downtrodden minorities in US society in the 1960s and 1970s. The image of cockroaches as resilient also leads people to compare themselves to cockroaches. Madonna has famously quoted, "I am a survivor. I am like a cockroach, you just can't get rid of me. "Cockroach", or some variant of it is also used as a nickname, for example Boxing coach Freddie Roach, who was nicknamed La Cucaracha (The Cockroach) when he was still competing as a fighter.
I love how my little buddy; my spirit animal if you would, came out. I must admit he is a little bigger than I had planned but I think now he's the perfect size.
A very healthy and constant reminder of humility and staying strong when the odds might be against you and you may not be the most popular in the crowd, but you very well may be the most resilient.
Jon Danniells is an adventurer and traveler, a teacher and student, a husband and a father, a cook and a farmer, a "week-end warrior" (very amateur athlete) and has not earned any money on these labors of love.When I googled myself what showed up first was my IMDB listing, which is basically a resume for my 20 and then some year career in film, for which I fortunately do get paid.