A little story of my journey with my birth name...
Written in the summer of 2020
By the time I was in the 4th grade I had suffered the abandonment of my tatuś (father in Polish) and was adopted by the father who had been raising me with my birth mom, changing my last name to Guillen. My tatuś came to Miami in the 80’s from Rzesow Poland and met my mom. Our relationship dwindled by the time I was 5 and all communication got lost. He then passed when I was 16, which began an era of recklessness.
Two days before 2020 began I united with my Polish family and learned the story of my grandparents during WW2. My grandparents were taken from Poland to a work camp in Austria where they met. They survived the work camp, returned to Poland and found each other and had 6 children- one of them, my tatuś. My own mother never heard this story and I heard it for the first time at 27. While there is much more to investigate on this story, I have a gained a greater perspective on my tatuś mental health and how that played out.
Amongst the massive chain reaction of unveiling and revolution in the world today, I’m experiencing my own within myself. Three weeks ago after a yoga session at home, while lying in Shavasana, like lightening I was struck with the awareness of the importance on not loosing my birth name. I began to sob for the story of my grandparents and felt for the first time a sense that I needed to take back my birth name in order to properly heal for myself, my family, and so that the story would not get further lost!
I have had great uncertainty of who I am for a long time, and have suffered identity crisis. This is why I chose the name Stella SG for my artist name. It was an attempt to honor both names, my birth family and the family who took care of me. However I still lacked confidence in Stella SG, as it was never really my name. I reached out to my family and explained this revelation and have received their support in officially changing my last name back to Strzyzowska.
*As of today March 29th 2021 I am officially Stella Strzyzowska legally. This is my attempt to put the pieces back together to be more whole and internally stable. I hope this story touches anyone who may be suffering from abandonment, adoption, confusion, displacement, and any other traumas that have been fragmenting. Art has saved my life along with other medicines and practices. Special thank you to all those who have supported me doing something I couldn't dream of doing with loads of guilt and shame strapped to my back for years. Turns out that once you feel confident in how/why to heal that those who truly care around you will do what they can to help. I have been blown away by the support. Now I can finally sign my work with full confidence :)
*Photo is a soul portrait I painted in 2012