As young adults, we tend to think we know majority of what we need to know about ourselves. We know what we like, who we like, who we are, etc., but sometimes we learn something new. Something not new in the typical sense, but new in the sense that we finally understood why it was what it was.
One of my new found friends at Harvard discovered something about herself that most of us consider as something we always knew: Her name. Angelica is her full name, but when she introduced herself she asked us to call her Angel. Little did we know, she was going through her own internal battle with her name.
See for some cultures, a name is just a name, but for others it means so much more. Angel finally accepted that she wanted to be called Aika as that was her name. Her experience is one that many marginalized groups face. She was forced to assimilate into a culture of Americanized names so that she would fit in and feel “accepted” meanwhile the one person she was not accepting was herself. She went to school with people named Michael, Ryan, Jessica, and other common names. Her journey to finding her name was completely her own, and it did not go without its ups and downs. As a proud and beautiful Filipino woman, she wears her nationality with pride and dignity, all complimented by her beautiful and just as prideful name.
After doing some research, I learned that her name means love song. It fits with her exuberant and compassionate personality. The most beautiful thing of all is that not only do we accept her name, she does as well, her own biggest influencer.
It just goes to show you that everyone had their own unique journey and it rarely comes as easy as it appears.