“What is in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet.” – Shakespeare
I am me. I’m a [for now] 31 year old Dominican and Puerto Rican male. I am the husband to Erica, the father to Eliana, and very soon the father to Elias as well. I am a follower of Christ. I love music and strolls on the beach (sorry, got carried away with the whole “this sounds like a personal ad” thing, lol).
For the most part, people know me as “Macho.” It’s not until I tell them or they try to find me on Facebook that they realize that “Macho” is actually not my name. It’s what mostly everyone calls me, but in fact, my name is Rafael.
Regardless of you calling me Rafael or Macho, who I am does not change. I am me.
The issue, for me, comes not in what people call me but in how I introduce myself. I have done quite some wrestling with this and journeying with God. I will start at the end and then elaborate on the explanation.
I want to begin introducing myself as Rafael, in hopes that after some time, people will call me and address me by my name.
“Macho” has several meanings. The one associated with my nickname is the “nicer” of the ones. Macho means “male” in Spanish, and hembra means “female.” When I was a baby boy, my mother began calling me “Machito”, or “little boy.” I was her little boy. Time passed, I ate, and I, well, ‘grew.’ I was not little anymore, and therefore graduated from Machito to just “Macho.”
I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching. While I’ve been “in ministry” in some form or another for much of my life (be it lay ministry or full-time ministry), turning 30 last year was [to me] the defining moment in which I sensed God would propel me forward into what He’d called me to. I know He has something more for me to do. He has a purpose for my life, and I hadn’t even begun to climb the mountain towards it.
This “name thing” began to churn in my head. I love “Macho.” I’m the likable guy. I’m the friend. I’m the brother. I’m the… well, you get it. “Heeeyyyy, it’s Mmaaaccchhhhooo…. wwwaassssuuuup.”
But I hid behind that for most of my life. Moving forward, for me, meant stepping into who God had called me to be, and not just who I’d hid behind.
Because of that, I decided to begin using my God-given name: Rafael. It’s a declaration that I’m moving forward into who He created me to be.
Am I still “Macho?” Yes. Will I still say that” Yes, especially in the beginning because I’m so used to it. My family will still call me Macho, and those who’ve known me for a long time will also. But I want to leave the childish things behind. I don’t want to hide in comfort. I want to be who God destined for me to become. Rafael.
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” 1 Corinthians 13:11