I was adopted at six months old. My given name was assumed throughout the adoption process. I own two birth certificates. One is my original. The other was acquired from my adopted parents much later. I hate my birth name. I have switched back and forth from a young age and being ambivalent over the matter until I grew older and would cringe as my step-mother would scream my first and middle names, drawing them out as to make sure I heard her well damn enough and so did the neighbors.

I never felt my given name was proper to anything about me as the person I was and came to be. It was a mundane name from the 70’s era. I always had lusted for a more creative, unique, and suitable name. Xena would’ve been appropriate as I was fighting along boys on top of gravel mounds playing king of the mountain and always being the smallest and youngest of such males.

That was the most fun I had as a girl growing up in such a male world. I unleashed my fury at age five giving my best friend a black eye because he kept taunting me after stealing my flip flop. He immediately held his eye and hauled  ass off screaming to my house to tell my step-mother. He then came running back as fast as he could make it to me to sucker punch me in my eye and we ended up sharing matching black eyes because my step-mother advised my best friend 5 years my senior to, “go and hit me back.”

I probably didn’t grow up as “old school” as some of you, but I can tell you I know more about punishment, pain, neglect, abuse and trauma than I want to know. I became a warrior from the life I endured and suffered. I tried to end the memories that have haunted me many times over to find that the reason I’m supposed to still be here is because it is a testament to how hard I have fought every battle. “Vita” means life in both Latin and Italian. Because of my resolve, I will never attribute the fact that I’m still alive to a divinity. It has only been through my own strength, determination, obstinance, and individuality that I have prevailed.



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