To date I have five tattoos. Six if you count the one that I just got covered two hours and forty-nine minutes ago. Covering it is another part of my process of getting back to me. What is it? Wait for it…
My ex’s name. Yeah, I know. We live and we learn. I honestly can’t tell you what possessed me to tattoo the name of a woman that lied and cheated even after being caught on many occasions. Stockholm? Actually, I’m not going to make excuses. It was pure stupidity. I’ve had more than my share of stupid moments in my life. I’m sure, in time, I’ll laugh at this one like all the others.
I actually never understood the name tatting thing. I did convince myself that, ya know, we’d be together forever so, it was okay to permanently alter my body. NOT.
I don’t harbor much regret though because I did what I wanted at the time and now it has been corrected. My tattoo artist Corey was more than I could have bargained for during this process. I had no idea what I wanted to cover her name with because I never thought I would have to. I honestly wasn’t going to because to me it was just another part of my story, a reminder to never make the same mistake twice.
Unfortunately, that was selfish thinking because it was also a reminder to others, in particular, my ex. Just like I can call her on her bullshit, I can call myself on my own. She spent two years of her life with me with another woman’s name on my chest. It wasn’t until I laid on that table in the tattoo shop being painfully pleasured that I realized how this may have affected her. It was a constant reminder for her, too. A reminder that I once loved someone else and committed myself to them. It was the woman that came before her and got to have a life with me. A woman that I shared things with that I had not thought to do with her. Yeah, ouch. I owe her my deepest, most sincere, and most thoughtful apology for my selfishness and procrastination. I could have tried a lot harder to find an artist to get rid of it. So. Much. Harder.
To add insult to injury the name sat under a tattoo that I share--not on purpose-- with my current ex. An Asian love symbol that I got in 2010. She got hers in 2012. Blog for another day. Man, I have so many blogs to write.
So, yeah, I’m usually more careful with myself, my body. I mean, I do have my moments where I can be reckless and getting an ex’s name tattooed was one. I’m sure I said yolo (you only live once) like I do when I’m about to make a ridiculous decision and made used that one word to excuse my behavior. Now I feel that I have elevated and corrected a mistake. I’ve always wanted everything on my body to mean something. Her name was nothing more than the first woman I legally committed myself to. That wasn’t and isn't enough in comparison to the Asian symbols love and pain on my shoulders--you can’t have one without the other. It wasn’t enough in comparison to the custom infinity symbol on my wrist, the reminder that all real things are forever--love and friendship. It wasn’t enough in comparison to the butterfly on my back with my initial in the middle; an ugly thing that evolves into something beautiful with patience and time. Sometimes, even I forget that the way I want to live is drawn right here on my body for me to carry everywhere that I go.
I welcome this new addition wrapped around the love on my shoulder. The vines and the lotus flower. It may be my best one yet. Vines are not just decoration. They represent connection, friendship, strength, and determination. They wind their way through life growing in the most inhospitable places. It will wiggle its way through anything to get the things it needs in order to survive. It’s the will to live, to thrive. Vines are sun-seekers. They are security, because they cling to structures, anchoring themselves, committing. They are me.
And the Lotus? Where do I begin with it’s beauty: fertility, honesty, grace, prosperity, knowledge, preservation, and serenity. I swear every time I hear it’s name I start singing Wale’s Lotus Flower Bomb. Simple, catchy lyrics to most. The man is pure genius. Have a listen for yourself.
The Lotus grows from the bottom of streams and muddy ponds to rise above water and bloom. The petals bloom one-by-one. At night it closes and sinks below the water. It repeats this action of rising, basking, and sinking. Untouched, fully grounded in earth, yet aspiring toward the divine.
It lives in water, but remains unsoiled.
“Never ignore your partner. It is extremely hurtful to be treated like you don’t exist by someone who is supposed to love you.” -relationship boosters
I told y’all that I’m dead ass serious about my growth. This means that I have to get real with myself about shit that I wouldn’t want to hear from someone else. I’m focused on one thing in particular right now, because it’s toxic as fuck and I have to find a way to be better. I’m sure a lot of you do this too, so let’s just be in this together.
I have the game on lock when it comes to silence. If being good at it isn’t bad enough, I do it comfortably. While other people panic and feel tightness in their chest, I can go days, even weeks without uttering a single word. It’s a power move, because as long as I control the communication, I control the situation. I get the first and last say.
I learned this as a child. I learned a lot of my toxic behaviors as a child because they were practiced in my home. On me. I can remember my mother coming down on me hard about a thing, anything and then she’d sit in her room and wouldn’t say a single word to me, even if she were the one in the wrong. She was never wrong. If I tried to talk to her, she’d flat out say not to say shit to her. Her tone scared me enough to make me shiut down and go to my room where I didn’t even have the desire to play or watch television. It makes me sad to know and realize that I was raised partially on love, but mostly on survival.
In my mind, silence is survival. If nothing is said, nothing more can happen. Good or bad.
Communication was always started with something that needed to be done. She asked me if I wanted to eat or tell me to take a bath. She would never talk about her behavior or the silence. Now I’ve carried it with me for 32 years. Thirty-fucking-two. I don’t actually think this was something I talked about in therapy. I need to. Note to self.
This silence has existed in every single relationship that I’ve had and I’m realizing that I took the powers of my partners away. I also put them in a position to have to constantly walk on eggshells, because they don’t want to trigger me to a point that I shut down and we’re back in a circle of nothing. Progress can’t be made in silence. Also, it’s emotional abuse. Sitting here realizing that I emotionally abused anyone is a hard ass fucking pill to swallow. I left others to linger and wonder in my silence, to assume or play with worse case scenarios.
Silence is a terrible defense. In fight or flight, I don’t want to be flight anymore. I want to be able to say this is my problem and talk about it. I want open communication with anyone that I cross. Crazy thing is that I’m not afraid of confrontation. I’m not a fan of it, but I don’t shy away from disagreements unless I’m in harm’s way. I just haven’t learned to be okay with being wrong in debates. A little, but not enough to not pack my bags when shit gets too hard for me, which is another toxic thing I need to unpack--no pun intended.
Sometimes I’ve even had the nerve to get mad when my partners no longer wanted to communicate. I hadn’t realized that I created that barrier. Who wants to confide in someone that will shut down at one wrong phrase? Nobody.
At the same time, my silence has another side. A side that is afraid of the other person's reaction if I say the wrong thing. Another awful piece of a toxic puzzle from my childhood. My mother had the worst temper and mouth. She got better as I got older, but it didn’t matter anymore. The damage had already been done. I’d already been a bitch, unwanted, and so many other things that made me feel less than nothing. I can remember being punched and called a bitch for almost stepping on a cake placed under my feet in the back seat. I had to be maybe three or four-years-old.
Words were a simple and difficult thing in my household. I believe it’s the reason I write, because I can control them.
I can tell you one thing though, at this age my throat chakra is more open than ever. Thanks to therapy and meditation I’ve been able to tell both of my parents about their ain’t shitness and move forward. Now I have to turn it on me, because sometimes I haven’t been shit. I’m checking myself, calling myself on my bullshit, because I can be better. You can’t teach old dogs new tricks is a saying for the lazy and unambitious. My mind transcends that way of thinking, because I believe in continuous growth. I want to evolve until I die.
In this I hope to choose for myself someone that understands that I need to talk and I need them to talk back. I want healthy boundaries for communication: no yelling, no cussing, no walking away. But even in walking away I need to be able to say that I just need a moment, because we are allowed a moment to adjust our thoughts to avoid saying things we may regret.
Unity over distance.
There is no real practice to stopping silent treatment, other than just saying what you feel. Think it, say it. Say it with love. And if that advice doesn’t help, let the words GROW UP hit you.