what she means:
finnick odair is viewed widely as a superficial character who was only self-obsessed and okay with being a killer, but really he survived the hunger games as the youngest ever winner, went through that much trauma and survived at 14 years old, grew up to fall in love with an emotionally damaged girl who had gone through what he had, yet she had turned out more externally damaged, grew close with a sweet old woman, was willing to protect her with his life and literally physically carried her on his back in the games, despite the risk to himself, stood with the rebellion against the Capitol even though he was their darling, publicly defied and spilled secrets about the president, married that same damaged girl he loved even in the middle of a war and had a child who he never got to meet, helped a psychologically damaged and unrecognizable Peeta and defended him, protected his friends and team against the lizard mutts, and actually begged for Katniss to throw a bomb down where he was, because he knew that it would save her and the rest of the team, even though he would die.
And for the first time, I understand what he means. I want to do something, right here, right now, to shame them, to make them accountable, to show the Capitol that whatever they do or force us to do there is a part of every tribute they can’t own.
Someday I’ll explain it to you, why they came, why they won’t ever go away. But I’ll tell you how I survive it. I make a list in my head, of all the good things I’ve seen someone do. Every little thing I can remember. It’s like a game. I do it over and over. Gets a little tedious after all these years, but… there are much worse games to play.
“Good night,” I whisper to the bow in my hand and feel it go still. I raise my left arm and twist my neck down to rip off the pill on my sleeve. Instead my teeth sink into flesh. I yank my head back in confusion to find myself looking into Peeta’s eyes, only now they hold my gaze. Blood runs from the teeth marks on the hand he clamped over my nightlock. “Let me go!” I snarl at him, trying to wrest my arm from his grasp.
You’re a painter. You’re a baker. You like to sleep with the windows open. You never take sugar in your tea. And you always double-knot your shoelaces. What I need to survive is not Gale’s fire, kindled with rage and hatred. I have plenty of fire myself. What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again. And only Peeta can give me that. So after, when he whispers, “You love me. Real or not real?” I tell him, “Real.”
It’s only now that he’s been corrupted that I can fully appreciate the real Peeta. Even more than I would’ve if he’d died. The kindness, the steadiness, the warmth that had an unexpected heat behind it.