The world thinks I’m a flower. This may sound like a compliment, but I don’t take it as one. For example, did you know that broccoli is a flower?

But really, there aren’t many things that flowers can do.

They grow once a plant has matured, then bloom into attractiveness, and once pollination has occurred, their petals wither until they are gone, leaving only fruits behind in their place. There is a way to preserve them a little longer, but that involves cutting them off and placing them in water, where strangers who come to your house can then marvel at their beauty, and that is the kind of flower I least want to be mistaken for.

I’d like to think I can do a lot more than that. So as soon as I was born, I started proving the world wrong. I can walk, for example. I can talk. I can think, or choose to take a different street. I can love. I can even choose a god.

But the world was still convinced I was a flower. I don’t know why. The world said when I am dead, I will be no different than a flower, and fruit will be my only legacy. .In fact, my government told me the same thing, when Korea’s ministry of home affairs released a “fertility map” showing how many women aged between 15-49 lived in each district, as if to take us by our stems, and tell us that we are flowers, only good for letting the bees in. Because my existence is so small that my achievements don’t really matter.

I know the world might be partially correct.

I drop my poetry like petals, but I know only those who grow me in their backyard really care.

I sway the direction every other flower sways, because there are endless fields of us, and by myself, I am only a ripple in the butterfly effect.

But dear world, listen to this, because I can be uprooted, put down on a different continent and survive. I can look into a mirror and feel insecure, but in the same day be confident enough to pour my soul out in front of a crowd. I can also believe in things I have never seen, and wow, how powerful is that? I can make you believe in things you have never seen.

So trust me, fruit won’t be the only thing I leave behind.

Because in those split-second moments when I imagine death and it terrifies me because maybe I really was just a flower, I remember all the lives I have the power to touch and I feel okay.

I know there is so much hurt here. There is so much hurt here. And no amount of cheerfulness could be enough to offset that. So even if my optimism does not belong here, I’ll carry it with me anyway.

When I can be a shoulder to cry on, a voice to rely on, when my writing puts a smile on someone’s face, or my poetry gets you to snap, believe me, I feel like a goddess. I feel like a flower. I feel like a million things at once.