Defined by a name
Have you ever felt frustrated when someone said your name wrong? If you answered yes, then you know it is because your name has become your identity and brand.
But, I remember a time when I wanted to change my last name and erase a portion of my past. I like to go by Diana Marie Russo because my father is tied to my last name.
My mom and dad got a divorce when I was two and I can't remember a time when I lived with both parents.
Don't let this blog post fool you, I cherish my family and my mom and sister are two of the most important people in my life.
I debated writing about my dad because I rarely bring any attention to him. I haven't talked to him in over a decade. After he wrote a letter to my mom (that we still have) and said he wanted to halt visitation with his kids, I reconsidered how I wanted to be represented.
So why did I choose to write an entire blog post about a stranger who I refer to as 'dad?' Because I wouldn't be who I am today without him.
My dad was never around and I am not sure he had much influence on me when I did see him. My memories with him are vague. But, he taught me invaluable skills because of his absence. And I thank him for that.
I grew up fast because my dad wasn't around but I quickly learned how to work hard and never give up. I credit my independence and strong personality to my dad. I grew up watching an incredible woman find success and happiness in all areas of her life. If my dad was around, I am not sure I would have witnessed an incredible woman, who I call mom, prosper on her own.
This taught me about life and helped create who I am today. My blog wouldn't be complete if I never shared this memory that was so influential.
Russo will be a part of my life for many years to come, but it carries a weight with it that means strength, integrity and resilience.