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I drew my alter ego, a fighter. The dotted lines show how the outside world is ready to target her and the bands show her focus. •How do I manage to survive in a world where every whiff of air is filled with the smoke of guilt, needles injecting a drug of self loathe and roads of uncertainty? How do mothers raise their children in a world where its components are in the mode of self annihilation? How do I get up everyday when my pillow is drizzly with late night showers? I stand up because I have a spine; a spine of steel. Steel made in parts- by the mining of iron ore from the depths of human ignorance, smelting in blast furnaces where impurities like self-obliteration and self-doubt are removed, alloying with carbon- needed to live and grow. I stand up against what people think of me, what they say and what they do because for them, it's an excuse. An excuse to show their self-worth and existence in this vast cosmos. But me, I don't need that configuration to exist. I will let my wings grow, my bubble expand, my aura unfurl and let it break the lines of unanimous acceptance. I am creative, smart and influential in my own ways and no one has the power to steal it from me. I will have the keys to my box of happiness and that shall be the only copy to exist. I will be proud of my accomplishments because I have spent energy created by thousands of mitochondrion in my body to get where I am as I read this. I will stand at eye level with the barbaric colossus; the evil monster who creates a ring of fire around me and I will smile at the blaze. Bandages, torn pieces of a garment and stitches; I will do whatever it takes to glue the pieces back which the universe has so fondly cracked. Underneath all this skin is an inferno; a fire blazing more vigorously than what is being created outside intentionally to shake the very foundation of what I believe in the most- me. Trial and tribulation, remorse and regret- pain, is constant. It's the response to a stimulus which is the game changer. I don't need a shield because I am the shield. If she can, I can, you can, we can



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