While straddling on top of the new guy I was dating, I noticed his eyes scanning down to my lower stomach.
He placed his fingertips on the blooming cherry blossoms that are inked in pink, blue and purple, stretching from one side of my waist to the other. I froze. He was too close. He could see it.
If he looked closely enough and long enough, he could see the attempt this tattoo has made to hide the name of my ex-boyfriend beneath it.
At 16 I was young and in love. I also knew someone that knew someone who had a tattoo gun. I wouldn't even give him the title of an artist, especially after seeing how badly he butchered my boyfriend's name at the time.
I still loved it and wore it proudly, at least until we broke up after six years of being together.
Regardless of how long you are with this person, people will always give you shit for getting their name permanently tattooed on your skin. Before you get it, while you get it, after you get and especially after you've broken up.
Despite the negativity and the cruel judgments I've received from doing it, I've managed to develop a perspective on it that is no longer me being ashamed.
I don't hide the fact that you can see the lettering so easily underneath blooming flowers. I tell a man I'm dating straight up that it's there. When people acknowledge the tattoo covering it, I'll say it's a cover up. If anyone has an issue with it, they can walk away.
When I look down at my tattoo now, I realize that something beautiful can always grow from that which is broken and slowly fading. My tattoo represents that.
It covers the thin, black, uneven lines that spell out my ex-boyfriend's name with bright, beautifully colored cherry blossoms. Even though the lines of each letter still show, it's OK. It's a part of my past that I can never say I regret. I can't look at a part of my body and be unhappy with it.
Just because I made an irrational decision when I was young and in love doesn't mean I should be ashamed, and neither should anybody else in the in the same situation.
We had courage to do what we did. We had strength and a powerful belief in our romantic feelings. We put aside all odds and negative opinions from others and stuck to this belief, even if the belief didn't last.
Even if we were wrong, we still felt strongly enough to the point that we were willing to do whatever it took to prove to someone how much we were in love with them. Not a lot of people can say they have felt this way towards someone and they're whom I feel sorry for.
I forgive my younger self. She was in love and we all know what love can do to a young girl's mind. I felt a love so consuming, so deeply that I believed it could have lasted forever. That is something I never want to forget.
Even though it ended, just like the tattoo on my skin, the experiences and lessons I learned from it will never fade. As for the future partners in my life, I have now learned that even the best type of love may not last. Even someone you have a burning desire for, and have been with for years, may leave and those feelings will be put out.
Although living in the moment is a beautiful thing, to consider the future while doing so is important while making decisions that have permanence.
I know now that the decision to stay with the one you love must be shown by the insides of your heart, mind and soul -- not by inking their name onto your skin.