My new tattoo feels like an old friend. Every time I see it there on my arm, I smile feeling like that alligator and flower is right where they’re supposed to be. I guess I’ve been picturing it for some time, and the strange part is, is that even though I couldn’t see that exact alligator or flower in my mind, the moment I saw the drawing of it I knew it was perfect. I searched on-line for the perfect alligator and couldn’t find it. But Alex, at Mountain Tattoo, knew where to look when I told him what I wanted. It took a while for him to find it, but he was adamant about getting it right. The flower was in one of his books of tattoo art, I changed the colors to pink with a yellow center. Before seeing the purple and green flower in the book, I hadn’t thought of what color is would be. But on seeing it I also saw my colors.
The alligator with the flower is a personal symbol for me of a strong center and an open heart. It came to me over a year ago after I did some soul retrieval work with Shaman Carol Tunney. At one point during the ceremony I saw an alligator slide into my skin and take up space in my body. If you’ve ever seen an alligator slide off a riverbank into the water, that’s exactly what it looked like, only my body was the river. Once inside me, my body glowed with a greenish-yellow light. When I looked up the symbolism of alligator I found it represented maternal protection, survival and primal energy. For me it became a symbol of my own strength and ability to protect myself. But the overall feeling from alligator wasn’t just about steely strength. Just as important and balancing the strength, was the need for an open heart. This idea came to me in the image of a flower. The message was clear, a strong center and an open heart. I stitched the picture I saw in my mind on my sewing machine, then hung it in the hallway of our house.
I imagined this image as a tattoo from the first time I imagined it. Like it always knew what it wanted to be. Now it’s as close to me as it could possibly get. I carry it around like a friend reminding me what I need to hear and what I am.