Names have a lot of magic in them. In folklore, the idea of knowing someone or something’s true name is a powerful one, and someone sharing it with you is them at their most vulnerable. Many Catholic parents, mine included, name their children after saints of people from the Bible. Our obsession with names doesn’t end there: next, a Catholic will go through the sacrament of Confirmation, becoming a full member of the church, at which point we chose another saint we want to emulate and we take their name. Names are bigger than the letters that make them up. They fit an entire personality inside them, an entire history, they fit an entire soul.
The journey to finding and deciding on my real name, Melinda Valdivia Rude, took about four years.”