Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tattoo Journey - Part 4 - Finally! The right choice!

Ok. I’ve changed my mind for the last time. It finally came to me.

There was this cat who lived on my grandparents’ farm. Her name was Gurimalla. Gurimalla lived to be around 25 years old or so. I’m not exaggerating. She kept going & going & going, much like the energizer bunny, and every year up to the very last few, she produced litters upon litters of kittens. She was a true farm cat, hunting mice and having multiple litters of kittens every summer, litters that usually would stay with her until she chased them out of their nest, at which point they either ran off to other farms to start their own families or they stayed at my grandfather’s farm. (There were a LOT of cats running around my grandfather’s farm….)

Suffice to say, most cats running around in that area today are related to this cat.

Gurimalla was a survivor. I believe the story is that she came from a litter that was abandoned by the cat mother, the rest of the kittens died but she fought to stay alive and alive she stayed for years & years to come. This cat always knew what she wanted & how she wanted it. She knew who she liked and she knew who she didn’t like and she let everybody know her thoughts. It wasn’t unheard of that she’d take a swipe at someone she didn’t like and scratch them up a bit. Thus, she gained everybody’s respect. Nobody touched her kittens unless she allowed them to do so, nobody petted her unless she was in a loving mood (which she often was… after all was said and done, she was a friendly cat... she just knew what she wanted and there's nothing wrong with that :)). She was a really smart cat, she was the Queen of the farm for all those years, up to the day when she drew her very last breath.

Gurimalla is at the core of every memory I have from my grandmother and my grandfather and the summers & vacations that we spent on their farm. In a way she is a great parallel to my grandmother. Her strength and endurance, the way she is still around, even though she has been physically gone for years. I think that once I remembered this cat, I knew for sure she would be a natural choice for my tattoo. She represents so much of my childhood, so much of my grandparents and happy memories, and she doesn't just represent my memories that involve the cat itself, but she was the soul & the foundation of the farm for so many years, it’s hard to think about the farm without remembering her.

So now I need photos. I’ve sent out emails to every family member to see if anybody has pictures of this cat so I can get an accurate portrait of her. It’s weird actually, it’s like she is bringing the past back to us at this very moment. If anyone is to find a photo of her, they will have to dig back quite a few years through the photo albums & I’m sure many memories will spring up during this time. Since the cat was around for so long, I hope that I’ll get a few photos that I can look at & that a tattoo artist can see & help create a nice picture of her on my shoulder.

The more I think about it, the more right this feels. I'm really glad that I've taken so long in deciding on this... and I guess if anybody reads this who are thinking about getting their first tattoo, it's a good insight as to how things can change on a dime and as to why it's so important to think this through before going under the needle.

It's really important to me that if I am to do this, the tattoo needs to have a lot of meaning and significance attached to it. I'm not getting a tattoo just because I want to tarnish my body. If that was the case, I'd walk into a tattoo parlor and just pick something from their wall.In fact, like I've stated in a previous blog, I had even discarded the idea of a tattoo until something very significant happened in my life, which was the passing of my grandmother. It spawned the desire to somehow eternalize her and the thought of a tattoo was once again brought to life.

So… forget the horse shoe, the birch and the rune alphabet, which were all good ideas. In fact, I still may add the Berkana rune into the mix. It would be a nice way to incorporate my own name & heritage into the tattoo, that way it would represent both the maternal and the paternal side of my heritage.

So… Gurimalla’s spirit spirit will never die, her offspring will rule the entire region for years and years to come and her face will eventually be carved into my back…

I’m sure I can think of her claws once that needle starts etching my skin ;-)

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