My name is Litsa. Litsa Elizabeth Williams. Litsa from my grandmother: my mother’s mother. This is the name for the crazy Greek in me; the loud, passionate, emotional me. The me who hugs people I just met and believes that food is love. The me who was taught that weddings, baptisms, and funerals should include every person you’ve ever met and that 15 minutes late is on time. Elizabeth from my grandmother: my father’s mother. This is the name for the rest of me. The me who was taught that some emotions should be quiet and all problems should be private. Who was taught that there are clear lines between acquaintances, friends, and family and that weddings, baptisms, and funerals are small, intimate events. The me who knows that you should always arrive 5 minutes early.
Williams from my father, who died before my 19th birthday; before I had declared a major in college, bought my first car, first house, or met the person I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. This is the name for the me that was raised on sarcasm, math problems, and college basketball. The me who knows that Mick Jagger was right: you can’t always get what you want. I have taken a winding road, from Britain and a Master’s in Philosophy, to Baltimore and a Master’s in Social Work, to working with adults experiencing homelessness, teens in the foster and justice systems, and bereaved families. It is those individuals who have taught me more than I could ever have hoped to learn in my 20 years of schooling. Though I never imagined myself here I am confident it is where I am supposed to be. I live in a cozy, 9 ft wide Baltimore row house. And I believe that 5 minutes late is absolutely on time.