My name is industrious. It is striving. It is meant for a leader. But it is as common as dirt. My name is blunt, basic, and bare. It seems like a pencil that has been sharpened one too many times. It is overused and underwhelming. It is Emily. When one thinks of the name Emily, at least three people come to mind. I have met more Emily’s than I can count on my fingers.
It is not unique, and there is no exhilarating or sorrowful backstory behind my name. It just simply is. My parents wished to name me Emilia. E-M-I-L-I-A. They decided that it would be better to just name me Emily, my name in English, because, according to them, nobody would be able to pronounce it the way they wished. They’ve called me Emilia since before I could remember. I didn’t know that my name was Emily until I started Kindergarten.
To my parents, I’ve always been Emilia, but to everyone else, I am simple, stale, and straightforward Emily. I’ve always like my middle name even though it is usually overpowered by my first and last names. Even though it is tucked between them like a child getting tucked in tight by their parents at the end of a long day. It is interesting and unique. It always made me feel like I had an edge. It makes me feel as though I am no longer as stale as old bread sitting on the counter, and it gave me a sense of unfamiliarity. I was no longer as basic as white converse and skinny jeans. I was different. My middle name came from my great-grandmother, Magdalena. She was named after Saint Mary Magdalene, and she was practically a saint herself.
My great-grandmother was on the road to becoming a nun until the beginning of World War II. Her whole life was stripped away from the palms of her hands. Hands that watched over animals in the quiet farm she lived on. Hands that prayed to God every morning and every night. Hands that planted and watered gardens that were filled with more life than any person you will ever meet. She had no worries. She was shipped from Poland to Germany to work in a camp. She no longer had fields of flowers and grass that stretched past the horizon. She could no longer look over her farm animals.
She could no longer be the independent, hard-working woman she always was. Instead, she was silenced by the Nazi’s, and forced to work. She had barb wire fences and cramped rooms that held three times the capacity size of about twenty. However, she didn’t go through it alone. She met a simple Polish man. Once the war was over, she let go of her dreams of marrying the church, and married this man instead. In English, the name is thicker than pudding with a hard a smashed between the m and the g. I am not the saint my great-grandmother was, nor am I the independent leader she was. I am shy and I don’t live by the words of the bible. I spend most of my time inside, and I don’t have the same passion for life she did. Although I never got to meet her, I carry her story.