When we were adopted, we got to change our middle names. About a month beforehand, all my siblings had their names picked out. I was struggling to find a name for myself. One that I could be proud of, because I was going to be stuck with it for the rest of my life. The thing was, I was like nobody.
All my siblings had other family members they were naming themselves after. Dean changed his name to our adopted dad’s name. Patience took after our adopted mom’s name. Breanna named herself after my adopted mother’s biological daughter. They all made jokes how the name changes fit the kids because they acted just like the person they were named for. Well, I was just different.
My difference was always noticed. I was hard headed and stubborn. So, I wanted to name myself after someone who was the same. I looked and looked. Finally, I found a name. One that I am still proud of today. LaShaye, which means, “You have an executive ability, you are a leader. You are moral, balanced, honest and intellectual, and you may attain spirituality. You are wise and practical with an appreciation of beauty. You always think before you act. You are bold, independent, inquisitive and interested in research. You know what you want and why you want it.” That is according to seven reflections website.
However, I was still deemed different. Different is OK, as long as you are not constantly reminded of it. It gets offensive to be at family reunions and everyone asks why I didn’t name myself after someone else. I picked someone who was strong and had a good head on their shoulder.
I was different because I wanted to leave. I counted down the days until I could leave. I hated being there. For my hate, I got ridiculed. All my siblings want to put trailers in my parent’s field and live their with family’s all together. I thought it sounded like a cult compound. I wanted to travel, go to college, and experience life outside of them. That made me different.
Different to them was wrong. Different was opinionated. Different was argumentative. Different was stubborn and hard headed. Different was dangerous. Different got punished because we all had to be perfect cookie cut outs of each other.
I mean, being grounded from reading is an example enough of how dangerous different was. My wanting to leave and get an education was a hard pill for my mom who didn’t complete school because she dropped out to get married. My inner strength that it took to get through being molested by my uncle and mom just confused them. My mom did everything she could to break me, but I am unbroken.
I never really saw my difference as a problem like they did. When they would joke and pick on me about it, I would comment that at least I was making my own way, I wasn’t following a path someone else made. I was cutting my own through the wilderness of life.
To me different was strong. Different was unique. Different wanted more than what they thought I should have. Different stands up for the weak because she knows how if feels when no one does. Different wants to make the world a better place. Different wants to love rather than control. Different is good. Different is special.
Being different is probably what made me a target to my uncle. I didn’t fit in my family and he knew that. He was my confidant. I told him my secrets, during those few times we were not yelling at each other. Being different drew creeps who knew that I was alone.
I try not to blame my younger self. I just want to go back in time and wrap my arms around her and tell her that she is strong. I want to tell her all the things that no one except for her uncle told her. I want to tell her that she will blossom like a flower in spring. I want to tell her that being different made her better than them.
Being different showed me that what they were teaching us was a lie. Being different helped me escape. Being different made me stronger than anything they could have done. Being different helped me see that I can make a difference even though they put me through hell for sick pleasures. Being different makes me better than wanting to be like them. It makes me beautiful and strong.