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  • Leah Zuniga

My Name


In English my name means weary. There’s many spellings, in Hispanic countries we spell it as Lia. It’s like the name tag you’re given on the first day of school, awkwardly sitting at your chest. The squeaky sound shoes make after stepping in water. It’s like the number three and the color blue. The hollow sound a wall makes after knocking. It’s the lego brick you accidentally step on.

I was named after my great-grandmother, Rosalea. I never got the chance to meet her nor do I hear stories about her anymore. All I have of her is the faint memories of bedtime stories. I’m not mad at my name but I wish it was something I could treasure instead.

I’m hardworking, someone who is always trying their best. I never thought to wonder if my great-grandmother was like me in that sense. Did she ever carry the traits I do? Maybe she liked to read books just like I did. What if she was stubborn just how I am? For all I know she could’ve been all of these things or none.

My great-grandmother could’ve been a role model for me growing up. I know she must’ve been someone special for me to be named after her, but she doesn't mean anything to me. My name does not mean something to me. It was my first gift in this world, but it’s nothing more than something people call me by.

At school everyone calls me Leah, to my family I’m Camilla, and to those closest to me I’m Cami. It’s almost like I live a double life. At school, Leah is quiet and listens to the sounds around. At home, Cami is extremely talkative. She laughs with her brothers, her best friends. All of us siblings have a common first name. We have all easily met someone with our own name. Forever known by the Z that follows our names.

I would keep my name. I don’t hold on to it like a child holding a stuffed animal but instead as a mask. I can go home each day knowing Leah did her part at school and Cami can enjoy the relief of being home. My name gives me a shell to hide in. I’m a turtle who likes to hide away, so I’d keep my name, regardless of its story (or rather lack thereof).

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