Mi Corazon de Alegria, my heart of joy, is what I have named my new butterfly dragon. How I meandered into this name is a fascinating mind journey for me.
My tattoo artist, Matt Hodel of Ragtime Tattoo, asked me after he had finished what I would name her. At the time I didn’t know, partly because I was so stunned by the fact that I had actually done it. I had somehow, someway breathed through the pain to have this amazing piece of work permanently placed upon my body. My arm was throbbing and my head was reeling.
On the way home with Kateri I thought of words like love, joy, peace, transformation, power, all of the things I daily play with focusing my energy and intent upon. I bounced a couple of ideas off of her and settled on nothing. I kept coming back to the word Joy but it didn’t feel quite finished those first few hours. Plus I kept coming back to this stunned realization that I actually did it. Wild!
For hours I though of what this tattoo means for me. I’ve thought of getting a tattoo, much smaller than this one, off and on for a long time. No image ever grabbed me enough to fathom saying yes to the painful process of getting a tattoo. Oh friends who have tattoos have said “It’s not that bad. More of an irritation than real pain. You can do it.” I never quite believed me them enough to say “Yes, I AM doing this!”
Until the week I walked with Russell in cuckoo luckoo land on his last earthly journey. During that week I stepped into my core power and love in a way I never imagined that I could. In the midst of the confusion and pain, I felt myself both a butterfly bursting out of its’ cocoon and a dragon powerful enough to fly and protect her loved ones.
With the amazing, creative play of my brother, Jeremy, the thought of a butterfly dragon was born. An image worthy of tattooing permanently upon my body, symbolizing for me the power of the journey I find myself walking in this time and in this moment. I have pictures of the first, wonderful butterfly dragon Jeremy found for me. I have shirts that I love. I have another butterfly dragon hanging from my bedroom window. I love, love the symbolism of mythical creature meets transformational reality.
So I did it, I actually walked into an experience I knew would be physically painful. And it was. Seriously I almost passed out at one point and could have punched Matt a few times. The process was also a way for me to live my journey in a new way. I just kept thinking I’ve made it this far in cuckoo luckoo land and experience more pain in my heart daily. I can and I will survive this temporary pain to have a tattoo that forever shows me my strength and my hope.
Finally after hours thinking of names I came to the thought of my heart of joy. Turning it into a Spanish name was a fun connection to Russell and one of my favorite stories of US. On our honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta we spent everyday on the beach, drinking lots of beer, sleeping, reading, talking and not really eating a ton. There were beach vendors who would walk around selling various items, our favorites being mini corn muffins and bbq shrimp on a stick for me. One of the days, the shrimp vendor ran out just as he got to us. Russell went into full, dramatic Russell mode saying “Oh, mi corazon, mi Corazon esta lleno de tristeza.
” “Oh, my heart, my heart is filled with sorrow.” I could barely stop laughing at the utter seriousness with which he spoke to this guy. It got me my shrimp, brought back to me by the vendor laughing with us in joy at Russell’s dramatics. Throughout the years Russell would tell this story or just randomly starting speaking about mi Corazon. Always, always got me laughing.
So my tattoo, my forever symbol that I can handle the pain to get to something of beauty, my daily reminder to myself that I can transform my sadness into joy, my butterfly dragon who makes me smile, will be called Mi Corazon de Alegria. She is my link to Russell and another physical step into the new me I am becoming. She is my love, my power, my hope that I will one day walk with great joy again.
She is my Heart of Joy.