I want you to know that I often think of my first-grade teacher. A part of me wants to be angry towards her, but I am not. Although I will never know her intent in changing my name to Joe, the name is now a part of me.
It took me decades, really not until my twenties and thirties, to slowly begin to take ownership of my birth name, my family background, my culture, and my language. I guess I was afraid that I would never be enough if people knew my real name – if people knew that Spanish, not English, was the language closest to my heart.
So, there are those that to this day call me Joe – and I graciously respond because that is the name that at the age of six was given to me by an educator. But, now that I am fully capable of owning ALL that I am, I prefer to introduce myself using my real name.
¡Hola, mi nombre es Dr. José Luis Medina Hernández Franco López Jr. Díaz-Cruz!