Who I am and where do I come from… nine words that are packed with more significance than most would think.
I am Inuk, born right off the outskirts of the Kenai Peninsula, and before you go making jokes about it also being the birthplace of that cartoon character Kenai, just remember Kenai means BEAR. *Giggles at the irony* My entire family history is one I will not get into right now but let’s just say, you would call me Eskimo.
My name is Milena Shesh, Milena means the favorited one. It was the name I was given after I was held up to those in the community in which I was born. To my people the naming of a child is a ritualistic celebration. Newborns are named after deceased family members; it is believed that it would lead to the reincarnation of the qualities of the deceased into the newborn.
I am named after my great-aunt Milena, she was a powerful woman, highly respected by all and a were-bear. Pretty big shoes to fill but when I came of age, I accepted the bites and the rights of passage to complete the cycle. It was by far the best decision I had ever made, one I have never regretted. And so I became Milena Shesh; the favorited one, the brown bear. I carry both names with great pride but after my college years of self discovery, I realized my chosen path was one that went against what my family expected and I left my home for the States.
It all started because of a simple dance class, a requirement in my college curriculum and I fell in love with dancing. The freedom it offered only comparing to that which my bear gave me. The awakening freedom of dormant muscles at each move, turn, bounce or leap was one I’d only experienced during my shifts. Nothing did I love more than my people, that is until dancing and my bear showed me an entirely new world. A world free from expectations, free from someone else’s past; free to build a world of my own wherever it led me.
And it led me straight to him… to Liam… He is my freedom, my world and everything I never imagined I would find in another of my kind. He does not judge me or my love for dancing and he has been my rock during moments I need him the most. He is my teddy bear, my mate and the beginning and end of my every day. Nowhere else would I rather be than with him and our two babies, KC and Sunshine; dancing even comes second to him.
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