I used to hide behind a nickname. My real name felt too real, felt too fiery, too strong.
On the first day of school each year, I would go up to the teacher and make sure she knew not to call my real name during roll call. "It's Christa", my small mouth would mutter. Often, the teacher would disregard my wishes... "LAAA CHRISSSTAAA GREEEEECO?" Not fucking present, bitch.
My last name always felt funny on my tongue, too. I hated having to say it aloud. It seemed like all of my peers had simple Anglo names--nothing with the heaviness of a name like "Greco."
When my full name was read aloud, the other kids would turn to look WHO in the world would DARE to have such a name! I would timidly raise my hand. In high school, One boy told me, "Your name would be better without the 'L-A.'" His words sharpened my tongue.
I decided I would take my name back.
My name is not "difficult" to pronounce. My name is not "too long." My name is not "ghetto." My name forces you to use your tongue in ways you never imagined. My name forces you to breathe deeply before saying it aloud. My name forces honesty out of your mouth.
My name blooms like a full moon in your chest.