January 13, 2009
By Shawnee Griffin, Hartland, WI

“Dude, I drove through you this weekend.” Yes, I am a city in Kansas. I am also a river, a national forest, an Indian tribe, a shipping company, a street, a road and a ski resort. I am all over the U.S.

People love to point out everything that shares the name Shawnee. It’s interesting that I have a popular name for anything besides a person. Somehow that completely fits. How my mother chose Shawnee doesn’t have an effect on my life. What did have an effect was the abnormality of the name. It isn’t uncommon for someone to pronounce my name wrong, spell it wrong or not believe that it’s my real name. That one makes me laugh. More than once I’ve gotten the question “is that your real name?” No. I’m pretending. I have a theory that my name helped to shape me as a person. A strange person. A person that is possibly unfit for mainstream society? Nah, I’m just awkward. Like my name. Thanks mom!

I’m awkward, unbalanced, weird, dorky, and apparently pretty. I have a purple truck; I paint, read, live, smile, frown and I occasionally explode. I hope to own a bus; I hope to travel the world (watch out Europe!). I want a husband and children, a house and a nice car. I want to learn to golf so I can retire in peace. I know I’ll die. These things will change, and I’m peachy with that. One thing that I won’t change is Shawnee. Shawnee is seven letters that I will arrange in the exact same way for the rest of my existence. It’s a different name, but I like it. Most people do, and some are jealous. I don’t see why. They’d have to deal with people spelling it wrong, saying it wrong and disbelieving that it’s a real name. But they’d also be awesome, like me.

I’m all over the country. You can ski, drive and walk through me. You can swim, visit and drive on me. And I think that is fantastic.

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