I grew up with foreign names which grew familiar to me. I was told of people who were courageous and who died because they loved others. I grew listening to stories and hearing about all races and colours and creeds. This was normalcy for me.
I was born with an Arabic name, which means Flower, Maryam. It also means Mary in Persian. My middle name, Paulina, comes from my Italian Great Grandmother who died at age one hundred without ever learning how to read but could cook the most magical meals from scratch. My last name DiMauro, was also Italian although i still do not speak it to this day. DiMauro sounds like from the sea. So I could be ” The flower from the sea”
But flowers do not grow in seas. It seems fitting. Because I am contradictory, filled with all these contradictory notions. And for this reason the name fits.
I used to hate my name. I used to hate that no matter where I went, I was never quite what people expected. I was too hippie for the rich, and too rich for the poor. I was too white in El Salvador and too foreign in America.
I was from everywhere, and anywhere tattered suitcases blowing in the wind.
I used to fill up my sense of self on what others thought of me. And then, I used to fill up my life with what I thought of myself. I had all these contradictory notions of who I was and would try to remedy all my faults.
Yet it dawned on me one day, it is not my faults which give me strength but all the virtues that Make Me, well Me. And they are only my own, the voice inside that comes from praying deep inside, from serving others. A small speck in the universe, a flower from the sea… which becomes part of that whole ocean , that whole garden, that is the beautiful fabric of the human race.