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You know those classic label stickers, don’t you? What do you write on it? Well, if you’re like me, you actually have to think about which answer you’re going to give. I mean, it depends.
I’m on this journey of rediscovery, of becoming more self-aware and living true to myself. From the small things - picture Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride trying to figure out how she actually likes her eggs (soft scramble for me, thanks) - to somewhat bigger questions like, who am I really and what do I want to do with my life? You know… simple stuff. Lately, the search has been going from 'cold, cold, freezing, cold'...to...'warm'. And geez that feels good. What sparked this urge and latest aha moments you may ask? Easy. Becoming a mom. But seriously, no one told me I'd be birthing myself along with my kids. And I absolutely love it. After feeling like I’ve breezed through most of my life with name-tags given to me by others, or by myself in an effort to fit the mold, I’m ready to whip out the whiteout and get cranking, refills on hand! It’s time to be honest with myself and proclaim what I write on the tag.
But first, let me introduce myself. What’s my name? Well, even that’s not a straight-forward answer.
Every morning (and more nights than I would like) I wake up to a little human calling me “Maaaaamiiiiiiii”. Now that’s a huge title I’ve worn for three years come October 19th. The day my world changed. It’s a name that was given to me, but that I’ve dreamed of having for as long as I can remember. A name that, a few months from now, another tiny human will say for the first time and a second tsunami of tears will come.
The other adult in the house calls me ‘Amor’. But it’s more like ‘AmORRR’. It’s an Englishman trying his best to speak in Spanish. (I wish I could insert little voice memos here, but alas. I’ll do my best to illustrate and you can do your best to imagine. Sound good?) I’m married to this magnificent - and strategic - man who enrolled in a couple Spanish lessons before we got engaged and again before we got married. They. Went. Nowhere. I mean, I just cannot speak to my husband like I would to a toddler can I?
But I digress. What’s my actual-legal-doc-name? Maria Fe Razetto Blume. I hail from the magical land of Machu Picchu, Ceviche, and Lomo Saltado: Peru (but don’t ask me to cook because you’ll get an egg or a bowl of cereal). ‘Maria Fe’ is my first name and, per tradition in most Latin American countries, I have two last names: my father’s and my mother’s. This is something which I have come to appreciate even more recently. You better believe my kiddos have two as well. Not even up for discussion with said-Brit-mentioned-above. I mean, I made and birthed these minions, I will be in there.
But you see, I’ve lived most of my life in the US, across many on-&-off spurts since I was just a few months old. So that name-tag here would read ‘Maria-Fe’, with a made-up yet crucial hyphen. Because no, I’m not ‘Maria’ - I actually don’t like being called that - and ‘Fe’ is not my last name.
You know what the irony is though? My ‘Starbucks name’ is Maria. I know, I confuse myself, but just bear with me. See, here’s the thing: ‘Maria-Fe’ is just so hard to understand. Even my nickname ‘Mafe’ (which I’ll get to in just a bit) needs its own footnote. I have this line coming out of my mouth on autopilot when I meet someone: “Hi, I’m Mafe…MaREEaFay (hear forced American accent)…but I go by Mafe…(I no longer wait for the puzzled look before I proactively spell it out)..M.A.F.E.” If I don’t spell it out, there’s a 75% chance I’ll hear back “Muffin?”. Ehh, yes please, chocolate chip. I mean, I can’t go through that whole explanation in line to order a coffee can I? This is America, my friends. It’s go, go go; or else get some heads behind you to look up from their phones with a not-so-passive stare. So Maria it is. Even though I don’t like it. Because, well, I’m a recovering people-pleaser and a quintessential empathetic Pisces (Sun AND Moon…it runs deep). I don’t want to make the person on the other side of the counter uncomfortable, so I’ve been giving myself a name that doesn’t fit.
I said I’d come back to Mafe. Pronounced ‘ma-feh’. Not meif, not mafEE. Everyone calls me Mafe (or variations of). I’m a sucker for nicknames. In choosing my kids’ names, the spreadsheet (if you know me, you know there would be a multi-tab, multi-colored spreadsheet involved) had a column for nicknames too. Doesn’t work? Vetoed it is then. Nicknames foster my strong desire for intimate human connection. For belonging. Maybe it’s from all the moving around: 6 countries, 12 cities, SO many schools. Somehow using nicknames, pet-names, inside-joke names, whatever it is, feeds that inner-child need. It evokes closeness. So now I get closeness even from strangers and I’m here for it.
And you know what that ‘Fe’ in my name means? It’s ‘Faith’ in Spanish. I’d never given it too much thought before, but on this new journey I’ve come to learn (and believe) that our souls choose our own names before we make it Earth-side. They’re our soul's North Star, hinting at why we’re here. (Seems my mom received my memo about 30 days after I was born. Better late than never.) Learning this did not surprise me, it simply made sense. One tag I’ve always given myself is: spiritual. With a clear knowing of oneness, of more magic out there. With crystals on every nightstand, drawing infinity tattoos on myself through middle-school, sweating my entire water-weight out in hot yoga since college. These are things that connected me to the ‘bigness’. A bigness I didn’t have to be told about or convinced on.
I believe in grand things, I always have, but I spent my entire life following the rules and checking the boxes: ‘good’ behavior, good student, good college, typical corporate jobs, good business school, typical start-up jobs. Insert several existential crises along the way, but none I actually listened to. Until my son was born. Since then I’ve been on a treasure hunt for a new name-tag. The Goldilocks of name-tags: one that fits just right. A process that’s taken place both consciously and unconsciously.
I’ve realized I'm an apparent ‘business person’ metamorphosing into a ‘Healer’. (Yep, capital H, cause why not? Dreaming big my friends.)
A couple years ago, I took the first big jump from the tech-start-up world to managing hot yoga studios. Now, with the birth of my daughter, I'm ready to take it a step further. To come out from behind the computer & endless excel spreadsheets and take a direct role in connecting with & helping others. To have a healing voice & presence. (The irony of being back here behind the computer is not lost on me, but we're moving past that, k?) I don’t know exactly how I will help others, but I trust that my inner compass will steer me there, and I see my birth-name as confirmation that I’m on the right path.
Now don't get too comfy. I said we're warm in this search, not hot. So in this space you'll join me in a beautiful mix of things I love, I'm going through, thinking about, or actively exploring, as I continue to evolve. Musings to come on:
Spiritual and personal growth
Meditation and mindfulness
Astrology (your girl is a Pisces Sun & Moon, Taurus Rising), psychology, and archetypes
Joy in the small things (where are my coffee lovers at?)
Travel, self-care, surfing (which by now I've attempted three times, so I deem enough to make the list)
We'll see how this space and I expand together.
It’s nice to meet you and thank you for being here,
Mafia (now that’s a story for another day)