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Lessons from Satine Phoenix

March 21, 2020

Lessons from Satine Phoenix

I follow the Kintsugi Hashtag on Instagram. One lovely day, I saw a photo of Satine painted in Kintsugi style. It didn’t take much time for me to reach out to her.

Satine and I collaborated on a photo shoot, and she agreed to be interviewed. Frankly, it was a challenging interview for me. Maybe this was because I could sense the scars in her in a very clear way. Satine focused more on what she is doing versus what happened to her and the details of her tragedy. I was happy, as it is never easy to relive painful moments through retelling.

It was obvious to me that she had suffered greatly, that her past caused her tremendous PTSD. At the same time, I realized that “it messed with" the wrong woman. She was going to transform all that pain into something incredible; she was going to reclaim herself and as many others as she could. She would do it in the realm that she was able to be the most creative:  the world of Dungeons & Dragons. This world was also a place where she could go during her periods of hardship, and she knew that there would be others who would come right along with her.

I always say that the difference between the survivor and the thriver is mainly that the thriver is a giver. They take what broke them to help others, and there is no question that Satine is a thriver. Satine found her Ikigai.

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means "a reason for being." The word "ikigai" is usually used to indicate the source of value in one's life or the things that make one's life worthwhile. The word translated to English roughly means, "thing that you live for" or "the reason for which you wake up in the morning." Ikigai also talks about how we should be well-compensated for doing this work.

There were many lessons I learned from Satine. Here are a few:

  1. Not only is it okay not to forgive, it could be a detriment to society. We should not forgive the unforgivable, and we should not feel shame to say that out loud. Acceptance and moving on is simply not the same thing as forgiveness. To forgive a crime is like being okay and accepting that behavior in our society. We should never do that, as it strengthens the power of the perpetrators. We should forgive ourselves, let go of the bad feelings that keep us depressed and down. This is not the same as absolving those who committed the crimes.

  2. Protecting Others. Many victims of long perpetuated crimes stay in these positions as victims to protect and save others who are vulnerable. For Satine, it was her siblings or not destroying the appearance of the family unit. Thus, the victim becomes a sacrifice for the greater good. To realize that the sacrifice did not save anyone creates another level of torment for the victim.

  3. Dungeon and Dragons. I did not know anything about it. I feel still that I don’t completely understand the game and the details of it, but I do understand the fun in creating a fantasy world. I remember as a young girl, I had a secret language with my cousin. Despite us not understanding what we were exactly saying, each of us felt very empowered. I can understand how creating these scenarios, stories, and simulations can be very healing, in addition to be a fun game to play! I am happy that this is available in a way that can help people heal from trauma in a safe, loving, and creative environment.

Satine is a person to watch. She is really unstoppable, and I feel lucky that I could learn from her and be inspired by her. I can’t wait for her book to come out. I am sure it will not be an easy read, but we are not here for easy. We are here for growth. We are here to break and mend and splatter our lives with a lot of healing gold.

To learn more about Satine follow her at:

Photo by: Allan Mato

If you feel suicidal reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 


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