Nadia Ilaj // NADIA

My mom is hurt, I think, that neither of her children kept the names that they were given. Her and my father put so much effort into picking out names, picking out labels that would define us for the rest of our lives, and my brother and I threw it away like it was nothing. They named me Nadia (Ned•ee•ah), which holds a delicate meaning, but I was pushed to be anything but delicate. Instead, I’ve reformed my name into a harsher, less annunciated version of the word. People tend to find deep, symbolic meanings within a few letters that someone picked out to for a name. A name: a word or group of words by which a person or thing is referred to. A title. A tag. A label. Something that supposedly gives information about you, and yet my ‘name’ holds none of that. It holds a connection to a family that I don’t want to be connected to. It holds a childhood of embarrassment from the laughter, like my name was the punch line to some joke. It holds everything in 5 short letters. I named myself Nadia (Naw•dee•ah), which holds a hopeful meaning, and one day I will be everything and hopeful.