Like an old friend on autodial, she drops into the exquisite scent of her childhood. The sweet smell of lilac fills her senses as she’s mesmerized by the dozens of ladybugs who have made her mother’s lilac bushes their home. She lifts her hand to the flowers and invites the tiny creatures to crawl through her fingers and up her arms. Imprinting her young body with the map to the joyful, innocence of her childhood.
She recalls a casual Saturday afternoon walking up Divisidero street in San Francisco a few years ago. A well-traveled street lined with dive bars reminiscent of the 60s along with hipster toast and coffee cafes, yoga studios and trendy restaurants. She notices a bright red sign across the street, “Everlasting Tattoo.” Time stops. She stops. Intuition leads her to the entrance. THIS tattoo has been brewing for 25 years – ever since that first time she and her best friend Kate walked into a place on 6th street in Austin completely full of themselves only to chicken out when needle hit the skin.
More visits to tattoo parlors over the years felt like an exercise of the forbidden fruit. A well-tuned voice of protestant programming and self-judgement left her inkless. This visit didn’t hear any of those voices. Only truth. She knew, without judgement or permission, this tattoo was waiting for her. It had only recently come to her. A lilac flower with a ladybug sitting on its leaf.
This divine appointment guided her to the faithful reminder of a five-year-old’s bliss. Olivia listened as she described her request and effortlessly designed the delicate template. Unbelievable. Her eyes burned with tears admiring its beauty – even more so than she expected. Gracefully, this flower of a woman covered in Goddesses went to work on her lower right calf. Time stopped again. No pain what-so-ever. Nothing but delight filled her trembling heart as she laid there in silent appreciation.
And any day that she feels the loneliness or desperation or pain creep in, she looks down at her leg and the soft purple pedals with the noble ladybug sitting on a bright green leaf. She softens as she follows the map to her child-like innocence with only compassion and love.