Like many other fours, when I was created I was dropped from the sky. The clouds curled my hair, the sun kissed my skin, and the wind tugged at my sides as I fell. Then I landed on Earth into my parents hands. There my name was clapped into existence. GA-BRI-E-LA, four syllables.

Fours are supposed to be balanced, stable, whole, and full of order. They symbolize the four directions and the four elements. I guess God got somewhat creative when he made me because my edges came out a little fuzzy.

God made my edges like the edges on an impressionist painting. He gave me layers of color that blend together. He made me like a Van Gogh, with paint caked on the canvas, jumping out at you like a bright light. He gave me swirly lines and royal blues. Colors that screamed out loud. God made me like a Valery Rybakow, with scattered paint strokes and seas of golden light. With texture and depth, smoothness and coarseness. Yes, God gave me all this and in return my parents gave me Gabriela, meaning “God is my strength.”

When I think of my name, I think of an old lady in a church. She’s kneeling with her head bowed. A rosary hangs down from her clasped hands. She wears a black veil that covers her face as she brings her hand to her forehead to start the sign of the cross.

There are no free colors, impressionist paintings, or sunsets. There is just a foreboding presence, a lady in dark colors, reminding me of straight lines.

I think that’s why I go by Gaby. Unlike Gabriela, Gaby is a Two. Twos represent conflict, diversity, and alteration. Twos represent opposite ends of a spectrum that are constantly butting heads. They symbolize the magnetic poles that bring the Earth the Aurora Borealis. Gaby makes me think of the ocean and its waves. She reminds me of how they crash against the shore with great passion, scattering all over the sand. Yet, she also reminds me of how they always make it back home to their center.

Together, Gabriela and Gaby add up to make a whole me. They constantly battle inside me, pulling me in every direction. Gaby is self-invented and holds little validity. She rejects familial ties and believes in a self-made woman. Gabriela is an inheritance. She was chosen to represent me and handles her position with great responsibility. Gabriela keeps me safe while Gaby throws me back into the world.

Sometimes I wish I could just be Gaby or just be Gabriela but I don’t see how that would work. Without Gabriela, I’d be a scribble painting with no concise image or message. I’d be an empty canvas full of blobs. Without Gaby, I’d be a boring Cubism painting full of squares and straight lines.

These names are deep tattoos hidden somewhere inside me. Sentinels you might call them, depending on the occasion. Looking out from inside me like a character in a painting. The figure in the background, hidden behind the shadows. They wait, resurface when needed. Always watching, waiting, hoping. Guiding me through life. The compass to this ship. The wind in its sails. The sun in its sky. They dance like mermaids at the head, singing of hope and home.


Post by Gaby


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