Elikia nanga, na lingui yo.
Kiki you probably don't know this, and I would have probably told your two year old self some version of this story - but when I read your name for the first time, I knew it was yours. It felt like a gift from above that you would be called hope. Indeed, you were and are my hope for not only myself, but the world - that it would be open, and accepting and embracing of your entire being, wrapping you in light and filling you with joy.
The year before you were born, I decided to commemorate these reflections by tattooing the saying 'Elikia ne decoit jamais' onto my arm, as a way to say that the hope and light that you embodied would never fail. It was my first tattoo and it seemed beyond fitting that I get it in 2014, as a way to hold onto the verse in Romans 5:5 - because hope never disappoints us, it is only made possible by unconditional love. This is the love that has carried me through, even at my darkest moments, where it felt like there was no way out and despair hung heavy around my neck like an anchor throwing me into the darkness. At the time, I had no idea that a year later on the same day, I would be holding you in my arms, confronting my own strength and fragility. The truth is that at any given moment I am both incredibly strong and bizarrely fragile as a mother to you, existing on both ends of the spectrum simultaneously.
This is why I write this blog for you. To share with you not only my love (and crazy obsession) for you, but also the things I've learned and have struggled to learn. To share with you the things I know and un-know concurrently. To share my experience of the world in ways that are complex, painful, joyous, infuriating, liberating, scary, edifying and meaningful in life. My deepest hope is that my ceiling would be your floor, that you would continue in the lineage of strong-willed matriarchs that have carried our family and that you would find some refuge in my words.
I hope more that when they finally mean something to you, that they would be outdated - that the world would embrace the beauty of your blackness, the ferocity of your femininity (in whatever form), and the complexity of your intersectionality. My desire for you to is to push the boundaries wherever you find yourself, and to be at peace with your difference and aware of your sameness - and for you to embrace yourself in ways that the world may despise.
I do not know much Elikia, but what I do know is Na Lingui Yo... always, fully, and fearlessly.