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  • Writer's pictureKaren Hart

Still Don't Know My Name

Let's start with something simple: My name. Problem is, that's when it starts to get complicated.

I often use the Lord's name to express my frustration and other array of emotions, so when I feel the pearl clutching wrath from a Christian I tell them the same: "I know exactly how Jesus feels, my name is Karen!"

Obviously I did not choose it, that was my dad. In spite of a cousin born earlier that year being named the same, in spite of my mothers protests, he fell in love with it because of a telenovela protagonist, I think I get my stubbornness from him. Even then, when it came to register my name for a Mexican birth certificate, my dear aunt and my mom's sister, who was in charge of producing the document, thought in the last minute that "Ana Karen" sounded better, so she registered it as such.

She also gave birth to a boy four days after I was born, and always talked about how much she wanted to have a girl, I learned a lot from her and consider her my second mom, but in that moment she saw an opportunity and went with it, that's where I may have inherited the audacity; needless to say there were a lot of hurdles trying to correct this. Even after it was done some entitled bureaucrat told me that no matter what corrections had been done to my birth certificate, the line still spells "Ana Karen" so that was my name, I'll give you a minute to spot the trend.

My family has a talent and a habit to make up nicknames, so when I was enough months old they compared my likeness to a baby bird: Round, fluffy and with a bit of a beak. Due to my four year old brother's mispronunciation, "Pichonsito" shortly became "Pichu".

And Pichu would go onto be know far and wide by every single family member, friend, classmate and teacher; To the point where a few teachers would cross out the name Karen on their attendance list and scribble "pichu" in order to locate me faster. To this day some of the closest people in my life don't know that my name is in fact, Karen.

This didn't change until I moved to the United States in my early twenties, I finally had the chance to start again and chose my name. But the moment I started using Karen I felt more and more alienated from myself, as if the culture shock of going from a Mexican middle class life to living in a very republican family mansion in Rancho Santa Fe wasn't enough.

What I'm trying to explain is that, for decades, it felt as if everyone got a say in who I was supposed to be and what my name was, except me. And that is why I created Muchapeach, as a form of protest, and after a couple years of being lost in the identity crisis that comes with motherhood.

I've had a lifetime of molding myself into others expectations and I did not enjoy it, I'm done with that narrative.

I will be my self, no matter what anyone thinks, and I will be it a lot.

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