When it comes to my national identity, my name says it all. "Taylor" is one of the ten most common English family names and "Guillermo" is a popular Spanish given name.
“Given” is a figure of speech in this case. My parents wanted to call me William, after my English grandfather.
Unfortunately, authorities in my native Argentina would not allow it. At the time, all names written on a birth certificate had to fit two criteria: they had to be the name of a saint, and they had to be in Spanish.
This was an issue that affected many in the Anglo-Argentine community, who had traditionally chosen to maintain many aspects of their native United Kingdom. They spoke English at home, albeit with an accent tinged with the “song” of the Argentine accent, sent their children to English-speaking schools, and named their children English names.
Luckily, the fact that there is a Saint William made it so my parents had to make only one concession in naming me -- they had to call me Guillermo, the Spanish equivalent of the name they truly wanted.
In the years that followed, I would be called Guillermo, William, Billy, Bill or “Che Boludo”, depending on circumstance.
When I moved to the States, I had to spell out “Guillermo” a number of times in a variety of situations. “Gully...more?” I would come to be asked by countless confused customer service representatives.
Decades later, when I finally became a U.S. citizen, I had the opportunity to change my name. At this point, I considered changing my name to the name my parents wanted to give me 73 years earlier -- William Albert Taylor. Indeed, it would be an easier name to have in this country.
But I decided to keep my name.
Looking back, it is really “Guillermo Taylor” that defines my life in so many ways.
Born between two worlds as an Anglo-Argentine, I opted not to erase the name I’ve carried through my life thus far and what it has come to symbolize in terms of my identity.
I am Guillermo Taylor, both Argentine and English, with a leg in both worlds. And my life is all the richer for it.