When I was still in that frozen space, the growing space, right before birth, a little after conception, my mother steeled herself for another boy. Shelved her hopes in her closet, reorganized her mind: a boy would be okay, yes, certainly, another little boy to hug her knees and beg her to throw a softball, yes, a boy would be just fine.
When the doctor told her who I would be, she smiled, like she already knew who I’d be. For me, she chose the name of her own mother, a name which she just liked.
On the night I was born, the full moon hung somewhere in Cancer. In her arms my mother held her fourth and final child, her first daughter.
My mother never raised me to love pink. The colors in the room I grew up in were dark rose, my sheets had the night sky on them, the dolls whose hair I brushed I cut to look like hers. I never wanted anything else for my life other than what my mom could lay out before me: she taught me to be soft, inside, around the edges, with a tough core fit for a warrior. I am not weak. I am not fragile. And neither is my mother.