How Do You Pronounce Your Name Again?

A Brief Autobiography

My first graduation-graduating kindergarten, May 2004

I am Pakeeza.

I am n0t “pazeeka,” “kapeeza,” “parkeeza,” or the myriad of other pronunciations I’ve heard or will hear in my life. I am not the pause teachers and professors take when checking attendance. I am not any generalized label society loves to place on me because of my color.

Pah-kee-zah.

I am Pakeeza, with that one and only pronunciation. I am the voice that makes my presence known. I am all the colors which represent my unique culture.

Pah-kee-zah.

I love to laugh out loud and have real conversations with people, not just type “lol” on a cell phone. I love to make people smile and teach them to pick themselves up when they’re down. I love taking photographs and sharing experiences with the ones I care about.

Pah-kee-zah.

I hate small talk. I hate seeing people cry when they have fallen. I hate wasting precious time when I could be making memories.

Pah-kee-zah.

I always put other people first. I always give my all in whatever I do. I always do my part.

Pah-kee-zah.

I never ignore people in my need. I never stop until I reach my goals. I never lack in effort.

Pah-kee-zah.

I have accomplished many goals I’ve set for myself. I have exceeded the standards. I have taken my potential to the next level.

But, I have also failed. I have even fallen. I have felt what it’s like to give up.

Pah-kee-zah.

I believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe life is too short to not do what makes you happy. I believe in living life, not just existing.

I am who I am because of everything that I have been through. I am who I am because I take risks. I am who I am because I am still experiencing this crazy life.

Pah-kee-zah.

My high school graduation, May 2016

I am thankful for my past. I am thankful for where I am now. I am thankful for what’s to come.

I am Pakeeza.