As I save up for a new tattoo, I think of the old ones that I’ve adorned my body with and the stories each one reminds me to never forget. For some strange reason, I decided to go through my old blogs — the really old ones — and the first blog entry I saw was this one, published on September 28, 2004, where I talked about why I got an elephant as my second tattoo.
It’s strange. Not so much because I have been thinking about tattoos but because I kinda needed to see something in the entry that I needed to re-learn. It was a reminder from my past. A lesson I had learned, forgotten, and now I needed to hear it again.
I’m posting the original blog entry below and please be kind. I was such an automatic writer back in those days (I still am but I’ve gotten better) and there are tons of grammatical errors. I just wrote and published and didn’t care what the entry looked like. I could read it and that’s all I really cared about.
And I always put quotes from songs or from famous authors or profound texts from people in my old blog posts. Back in those days, I didn’t have titles for my entries but every entry began with a quote.
This is about memory and lessons and a return. This is about the elephant. This is about me and my journey. This is about you and yours.
I’ve been walking around all day, thinking
I think I have a problem, I think I think too much
I’ve been taught to hold back my tears and avoid them
But you’ve made pain into something I could touch
— Fragile (free), performed by Maria Mena (written by Maria Mena and Arvid Solvang)
The reason why I love elephants so much (so much I put a tattoo of one on my stomach) is that the inherent qualities they possess are so admirable. The precious (and quite cliche) elephant’s sharp memory is one quality. The fact that they are these big, strong animals but are rather gentle (unless you provoke them, then they can be quite ferocious). The fact that the general aura they bring out is one of wonder and joy.
I remember when I worked in the zoo for civic duty (a stupid requirement from my school) and I was always so enraptured by the people’s reaction to seeing an elephant. Thye were always so happy to see it and it could just be eating or drinking or taking a little shower. But people generally just loved the elephant. It is such a joyous animal.
My mom’s guru and a shaman once asked me if I wanted to know what my power animal is. She asked me if I wanted to know what animal should guide me through the world. Apparently, when she tried to collect my missing soul fragments (another long story on its own, don’t ask) I saw her power animals. She was quite impressed with that. So she asked me if I wanted to have my power animal identified. I said “sure.” She then did her trance thing and went through me and discovered that my power animal was the elephant. After that, I knew I had to put an elephant on my body somewhere, thus the tattoo.
Apparently, the Elephant, being the joyous creature that it is could guide me through the world. Their ability to never forget is important to me because apparently, though I never forget myself, I also refuse to learn from past mistakes. I also have the capacity to be quite joyous and that quality can be infectious, but I also have moments of absolute depression which I should avoid. The Elephants strength is not in its size but in its capacity to make use of its size and weight. Nothing is merely powerful, you must be able to properly use your strengths and weaknesses. These are things I have to learn and that my power animal is trying to guide me through.
That’s why I love elephants so much. I always have.
Being joyous is such a wonderful thing. And like most other wonderful things, being joyous is quite fragile, easily destroyed, easily broken. It has the capacity to be shattered with just a word, a look, a gesture. We must learn to twist ourselves to bend the light, to let the water just rush over us and not through us. We must learn to ride with the punches, to avoid the direct hit to keep these things from breaking us apart.
But if you are like me, and you enjoy the full force of everything this world has to offer; then learn to pick yourself up quickly. And learn to recognize where all the parts go and to put yourself together as quickly as you can.
Because being joyous is a wonderful thing. And it can be infectious.
**Originally published in an old blog The Flight of the Rocketman, uploaded September 28, 2004.