My name has many variations.

In Native American, I am strong.

In Old Slavic, I am a dreamer.

In Swahili, I am a mother.

In Old Greek, I am a flower.

In Quechua, I am fire.

I am strong not for the muscles that barely exists in my body but for the lunges and pushups my heart has done for the past five years and it’s still beating. I am strong for holding the blade tighter but not deeper enough to kill myself because I believe in my future. I am strong for holding my tongue hostage inside my mouth when it wants nothing more but to hurt others with my words like they have hurt me. I am strong for the fists I have planted in books, soils and walls instead of other people’s cheeks.

I am a dreamer for the visions of my future I have engraved in my memory, keeping me sane, holding me down when the earth keeps shaking my terrain. I am a dreamer for having dreamed a dream for me but also for my family and loved ones. I am a dreamer but not one with eyes closed but one which sees the world and still tries to find the fucking beauty here. Trust me, it’s not easy.

I am a mother of my future child that I promised to care deeply for and give my life should I have to. I am a mother of the demons inside me because I have taken them in with no questions asked even when they bleed me dry. I am a mother whose hungry but the food in my plate is not enough for my children eating my mind and making me lose everything that still makes me human. I am a mother – mother enough, living, breathing and still kicking my way because I can’t die. What about all my unborn children who will not have one?

I am a flower that blooms in the midst of chaos. My innocence was stripped from me before and a couple of times more but it doesn’t lessen my beauty. I am a flower that you can’t pick up from the ground because my thorns will punish you if you try. I am a flower which cannot drown in water and burn crisp from the sun. I am a flower which you may not think is worth taking care of but I don’t need you to tend to me, I will grow and prosper on my own.

I am fire because you can’t make me feel afraid of your empty threats and closed fists. I am fire because I can engulf you in a single word but I choose not to do so because I am much more than that. I am fire because I can bring a whole city down or either light it up in a snap if I wanted to. I am fire because I can’t keep calm of my passions and interest and the love I have long buried inside of me.

I may just be Nina to you,

but to me – I am much much more.

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