Names

I’m struck by how many names we have.  (This may seem irrelevant, but it’s connected to Malintzin.)  Mom.  Daughter.  Sis.  Tía.  Babe.  Querida.  Miss (or Ms.).  Hey you.

Each name that is given to us corresponds to how we are seen in a given moment.  A kid yelling MOM! when he or she needs help or attention.  A spouse or boyfriend asking for a favor and starting his sentence with “Babe…” or your mother referring to you as “mi’ja” when gossiping with the neighbors (in my case, at least; yours may call you “hon” or “kiddo” or “punkin” or “angel”).  At the DMV, you might be the more anonymous “Miss…?”  But they’re all the same person … and yet not.  It’s as if each name has its own identity, each one unique from another.  “Mom” isn’t the same as “Miss” or “babe.”

This concept of multiple identities fascinates me.

Is one persona more real than another?  Or is it a sort of figurative MPD, minus the trauma that causes a core personality to splinter?

The Aztecs believed that names held power.  They chose names carefully and based them upon their calendar and the influence of deities.  If they disliked the connotation of the name particular to a person’s date of birth, they waffled the day until a more pleasing name resulted.  So, there was a sense of choosing destiny along with choosing a name.  It gave a child something to live up to.

It makes me wonder … was Malintzin more La Malinche or Doña Marina?  Or were all of those personas invented by someone else?

Perhaps she was, in her own mind, someone else entirely.

I’m not sure I’ll ever know a definitive answer, but I think sometimes that all these questions could fill a book.

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