Copyright © 2019 Nur Hassanain. 
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Thick Skin

The women in my family never give up. 

My mother carries years of battles in her veins & stands up straight when the women are told to sit down. She is built from bones of cement and impermeable skin. Her voice softens like butter each time she hears mine, & I am left wondering how many more Saturdays I will have to hear it over wires before I get to feel it in her presence.

I was in kindergarten when I asked her if I was ugly. She told me I was a "verse in beauty", and I grew up with her words sewn in the back of my mind like a stanza playing on a broken record each time I looked in the mirror. Each ounce of my confidence can be traced back to that woman.

My mother chose to be more feared than loved when the world taught her that seeking approval is as efficient as running after a flying plane. I think of my sisters and all the ways they exhibit courage in the face of hesitation. They take up space & speak louder when no one is listening. We are polar opposites arranged in parallel lines, where one lacks the other possesses. When one trips the other corrects.

They taught me how to say No or embrace a life of being tossed like a sheep in the herd. To build a home from my skin & bones & breathe prayers into it. These alpha women are warriors. Backbones. Leaders.

The women in my family never give up.

On days like these I wonder: whose blood runs through my veins?