Still I Rise Tattoo Meaning

People show amazing resilience and determination in overcoming obstacles they encounter in life. Fairy tale lives are a rarity, and almost everyone will face hardship at some time. Overcoming these troubles is hard work, and many people choose to celebrate their efforts and successes with a tattoo. One commonly chosen for its meaning is the phrase ‘still I rise.’

A still I rise tattoo is a celebration of triumph over adversity and surviving troubled times. These may include sickness, addiction, poverty, job loss, discrimination, and abusive relationships. For some, it is a proclamation of success; for others, it is a reminder to get up and fight each day.

The phrase ‘still I rise’ can be combined with different images that reinforce its meaning, adding subtle undertones to the connotations.

What Does A Still I Rise Tattoo Mean?

Maya Angelou was a poet who published a poem called “Still I Rise” in 1978. Her poem spoke of rising above racial and gender discrimination and poverty. It became an anthem for many that face difficult circumstances.

Tattoos proclaim ‘still I rise’ largely originated from this poem. People who want to show that they have overcome hardships may choose this image for a tattoo. The tattoo may be both a celebration of overcoming obstacles and a reminder to keep pushing through difficulties.

Some people choose to tattoo the text only. The fonts can be elaborate or plain and bold. Other people prefer tattoos that incorporate other images with the phrase. 

Still I Rise Tattoo With A Phoenix Image Meanings

The legend of the Phoenix arose approximately 500 B.C in Greece. It was part of legends and myths that were passed down from one generation to another.

The Phoenix was a bird of stunning beauty that the sun blessed with eternal life. Although the Phoenix lived forever, it still aged. When the Phoenix was 500 years old, it became old, weak, and feeble. The Phoenix was tired and unhappy and desperate for a new start.

The Phoenix built a nest of herbs, settled into it, and asked the sun to intervene. The sun burned the nest, setting it and Phoenix alight. Once the fire died down, the Phoenix emerged from the ashes of the nest, renewed, youthful and beautiful once again.

Some people choose a phoenix tattoo with the ‘phrase still I rise’ written in or under the image. These tattoos are usually richly colored with the addition of flames that add to the intensity and complexity of the image.

People that have chosen this tattoo want to show that they have found a way to renew their lives. For some, it is reinventing themselves after their children have left home.

Mothers often struggle with self-image and a purpose in life after their child-rearing days are over. This tattoo is an excellent way to show they have risen above the change and are ready for something new.

For other people, a Phoenix- still I rise tattoo may be a new career path after suffering misery and unhappiness in their work situation. It is difficult to change careers once you are established in an industry. Making the change requires courage and determination, which will be worth memorializing with this tattoo.

Still I Rise Tattoo With An Arrow Meaning

 A popular way of using the phrase ‘still I rise in a tattoo is to ink it into the shaft of an arrow. The arrow enhances the phrase’s meaning, showing that the person has a new direction and purpose in life.

The still I rise tattoo on an arrow is popular on the forearm as the elegance of the image is further highlighted by its length.

Still I Rise Tattoo With A Fist Meaning

When the ‘still I rise’ phrase is combined with a fist in a tattoo, it speaks of enormous struggle. Power and a determination to fight helped the person overcome the problems they faced.

Meaning Of Still I Rise And Rose Tattoo

The wearer may choose to combine still I rise with a rose as their tattoo. The phrase may be written as the stem of the rose or placed to the side or under the flower.

Rose tattoos are usually symbolic of love. When combined with this phrase, the individual may be showing that they have risen above past unhappy romantic relationships and are embracing a new one.      

Love and romantic or life partnerships can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life or the most devastating. Some people unwittingly find themselves in abusive or controlling relationships that suck their spirits dry, leaving them broken and battered.

Overcoming the effects of an abusive relationship is not a simple task. Many people choose never to have another romantic relationship. Having the strength to trust another person and begin a new relationship is an admirable quality. Choosing a rose and the ‘still I rise tattoo’ can depict this journey.

Meaning Of Still I Rise Tattoo With A Dandelion

Dandelions are symbolic of overcoming hurdles and stumbling blocks in life. Combining the image of a dandelion with a ‘still ‘I rise’ message underscores the message.

Many people underestimate the effects of chronic illness and the bravery it requires for people suffering from a long-term disease to get up and show up every day. This tattoo may be a subtle way of acknowledging their struggles and reminding themselves that, like the dandelion, they can endure and succeed.

Meaning of Still I Rise With a Sun Tattoo

Some people choose a tattoo of a rising sun with the words ‘still I rise’ written below or above it. The rising sun reminds us that the sun will rise after even the darkest night. This tattoo represents the assurance that pushing through a troubled time will result in better circumstances when problems do not loom over us.


Still, I rise tattoos are popular with people that want to show their struggle and victory over life circumstances. It is symbolic of perseverance, courage, and fortitude, all admirable qualities.  

Some of my favorite designs, tattoo books, and aftercare products, selected for you

working on tattoo at my studio
Working at the studio on one of my projects

Thank you for reading my article, I hope that you have found it helpful. If you would have trouble finding ideas for your tattoo, wonder what is meaning of design that you have found or what to buy for aftercare, to make sure that your tattoo will be healing quickly and easily, here are some of my favorite products in one place, hope that this will also help.

Design and tattoo ideas

For some ideas you can have a look at those 3 books with hundreds of designs that I use with my clients, they are available on Amazon for Kindle or in classic, paper version (links below):

Tattoo meaning

If you would like to read more about the meaning of different tattoo styles and designs before you will decide what you would like to have, I can recommend a book that was really useful for me when I was starting my tattoo adventure – it’s “Conscious Ink: The Hidden Meaning of Tattoos” by Lisa Barretta (through the link you can find it on Amazon for around $10).

Tattoo aftercare

The skin at the tattoo site often dries out. To prevent it and speed up healing for my clients, I usually recommend one of those tattoo aftercare balms (you can find them on Amazon):


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