A few days ago, while thinking in the shower (where else?), I realized that the ñ in my last name isn’t there. Like, it does not exist anywhere. I confronted my mother.
Why didn’t you include la ñ in my last name on my birth certificate?!
Yo si lo escribi.
Obviously, you did not write it. Cause it’s not there!
Yes, I did! It was the state that didn’t include it. Ya, dejeme oir. She went back to the tv.
I was left flabbergasted. How. Dare. They?! Someone decided to ignore a crucial part of my last name and left me…with the last name Canola. Canola! Like the oil! I used to despise my last name growing up. Why couldn’t I just be a Cano like my cousins? I was teased – mercilessly – over it by my peers. I even smacked this shit out of a kid in middle school for making fun of it (and I’d do it again!). Something about it just didn’t sit right, man. Why?
CAUSE MY NAME IS MY NAME. And it’s not Canola. It’s Cañola! I hear my dad’s friends call him that and it sounds so cool to me. To say it, you reallyyyy gotta wanna say it, and with your tongue. Moreover, it’s part of our blood. It represents a lineage of hard working, ill-tempered, and hilarious people with dark hair and freckles scattered throughout their bodies. It ain’t no punk-ass’ last name, I’ll tell you that. My father doesn’t take shit from a single person, and I know it’s because to do so would be to dishonor his last name.
Is it dramatic to say that thirty-year-old Jax feels robbed of her identity? Forced to assimilate even her last name? Mufuckas wouldn’t even let me have my last name. I didn’t even know how to fucking write out the ñ on a keyboard until a few weeks ago when I messaged my cousin Nancy in an uproar at the revelation that I have been spelling my name incorrectly this entire time. Maaaaan.
Cañola. Jacqueline Cañola. That’s Jacqueline Motherfucking Cañola to you.