To Ben, the person who broke my heart

I like to think about the scars on both the outside and inside of my body as tattoos—but with a better story. They may not be made out of ink, but they are made of something even greater: flesh and emotions. The scars on my body always show me that I have lived, but the scars on my heart show me that I have loved.

For some, being in love is the greatest feeling. It is. But the hardest part is trying to gather yourself after the other person is no longer in love and leaves. That’s where the scars on my heart come from.

People tend to say “love hurts.” I believe love doesn’t hurt, but people who don’t know how to love hurt. To love means taking your time to learn about someone, their silly habits, their sense of humor, and everything else that follows.

It took time for me to know you and all those things, so it took time for me to forget. Forgetting you was the hardest thing I had to do, but I did. When you said you wanted to leave a mark on this world, I never knew you meant me. But after all, I should have known. You did call me your world.

It took me a while, but they say poison leaves the body bit by bit until you heal.

You were the coldest winter but the warmest summer. You painted my body in black and white. Now, since all the poison is gone, my canvas has turned into a rainbow. Good or bad, I have permanent reminders that I came from somewhere.

My body is a canvas, and I have been painted on.


Umamah (Leah) Ilahi was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her family. She enjoys traveling and has visited England, Canada, Memphis, and Paris. Umamah (Leah) Ilahi is currently a student at Project Reach Youth of the Family Health Centers at NYU Langone. She is studying with teacher John Kefalas for her HSE diploma. She hopes to travel more in the future and become a doctor or physician’s assistant.