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No more ‘n/a’

Maria Solita Zaldivar.

I was born without a middle initial. For the most part of my life, as much as I tried not to make that a big deal, it inevitably was. I was never ashamed of being an illegitimate child. I wasn’t proud of it but I accepted it wholeheartedly. It fascinated me that I wasn’t normal like the rest of my peers. I found it amusing and if asked whether I want my life to be assembled differently, I choose not to. I can’t see the logic of wanting to make things ordinary when it’s perfectly imperfect as it already is.

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They say that one’s name connotes one’s identity. I consider that more of an idea, ephemeral rather than authentic. What really defines us is not our name but our deeds apparent in the kind of life that we have lived. Good names bring us glory; bad names ruin our reputation. I’m a firm believer that it’s not the name that counts but the person.

The absence of a middle initial was synonymous to the “missing piece” in my life. I’ve always been searching for something or someone that would make me feel complete. Completeness for me is tantamount to a life of meaning and direction. If one is constantly searching for something or someone, one will never be entirely at ease with one’s self.

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I don’t intend to be verbose about what had been lacking in my life because I’ve always believed and felt that I had more than I deserve. There were some drawbacks in my life but they were minimal and were remunerated in different aspects. Much of my life was filled with love from family and friends and I was blessed because it seemed like I got everything I wanted. I was successful in a number of ways that people define success.

I’m very grateful for what I have been given. I even considered having no middle initial as an advantage and not a source of envy over others. It made me feel special in a weird way. But the thing that I hated most about it was when people gave me sympathy that was unsolicited.

The feeling that there was this “missing piece” never really left me. There were moments when I ponder the kind of life God has given me and I yearn for the normalcy that other people have the privilege of having. It’s in those moments that I also reflect on the many crossroads of my life and how I have felt that I wasn’t who I was supposed to be.

It dawned on me that our ultimate goal in life is to find meaning and direction in it. I found mine when Aaron came. My life was composed of the things I wanted to do, things I’m expected to do, and things I didn’t want to do but did anyway. I’ve had my share of highs and lows and of moments I wish would linger and moments I wish could be omitted.

It was Aaron’s arrival that not only compensated for the “missing piece” in my life but also redeemed the whole of me. It was because of him that I felt free. I felt the unyielding freedom to make choices of my own and be absolute with myself and my decisions. I was free to love unconditionally and have that love reciprocated with the kind of certainty that comes only once in every lifetime. With Aaron, I had the liberty to be more of myself than I ever was before.

It was through finally finding each other that enabled me to disregard the absence of the things that I desperately wanted to have. It was through him that I depicted those absences as blessings because it made more space to fill my life with the things that he has to offer and the things that we could make together. Not everyone is given the gift of emptiness in order to feel more fulfilled and content. Aaron became the reason for a lot of things in my life.

It was because of him that I stopped wasting my time with wistful thinking. He didn’t judge me based on what was missing and he loved me despite of it. He loved me for who I was and for who I wasn’t. What could be a greater manifestation of love other than that? He didn’t perceive me as someone who had a “missing piece” but as someone who was strong enough to become better off that way. I couldn’t thank him enough for how he made me feel. As completely compatible and as extremely opposite as we are, he’s the only other half that makes me whole.

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Last Feb. 21, Aaron and I got married. On that day, I was a wife and a soon-to-be mother. I was Mrs. Maria Solita Zaldivar-Guzman.

I’ve always wanted to prove something to the world but not based on my academic record, what I do for a living, and whether I’m a famous personality or not. My heart’s desire is simple. I want to leave a legacy in which the mere mention of my name will serve as an inspiration to others to live the kind of life that I’ve always wanted to convey. A life of meaning and direction and of completeness with and despite of what is lacking.

There are many things that make us who we are. The predetermined one is where we came from, and that is our family. I didn’t come from a typical family but God gave me an awesome one that has contributed much in molding me into the person that I am now. The prevalent part that makes us who we are and in which God has given us a choice is love. Regardless of how overused love can be, there is that one person who stands out from the rest, one unexpected event that gives significance to everything else, and one distinct feeling that is incomparable. I am who I am because of love and because of Aaron.

Now all of my application forms will have no blank. My name is complete (with middle initial included), and so is my life.

Maria Solita Zaldivar-Guzman, 22, is married to Matt Aaron Guzman and works as a social media operations analyst at Brandtology, a Singapore-based company.

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