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You can call me anything you like, so long as it’s not late for dinner. See if I care.

When people ask me what my name is, I hardly know what to say. I’ve had so many names that I don’t know which one to use. Unsurprisingly, I hate telling people my name, because I don’t know it.

I don’t even know my own name.

My name is Elena. I’m Venezuelan, so my name is of Hispanic origin. If I was to take a trip to South America, or any other Spanish-speaking country, the way people say my name would be no problem. To them, it’s a common enough name, so they would have no trouble calling me by my birth name.

North America is not like that. Because we’re so used to speaking English, and not Spanish, they cant pronounce my name. So I became Elaina.

I really hate that name. I simply wouldn’t claim it as my own. When I was asked my name, I would mumble something, and just put up with being, “You there, so sorry I can’t remember your name.” So it evolved into Alana. I don’t really like that, but it’s an improvement.

My parents tried to take nationality into account when they named me. “It’s a name thast is easy in several languages, and it’s also a common Spanish name.” I don’t suppose it’s all that easy in English, but there you go.

Whenever I move schools or meet new people, I can change my name. If I decide I’m going to call myself something, I can, even if it’s just to make it easier for them. It’s a nice sense of freedom.

I remember when I was younger, I used to tell people I didn’t have a name, and they’d look at me funny. Or I’d say they could call me whatever they like, but then they would ask, “Well how do you want me to say it?” When that happened, I felt like throwing something at them, and screaming “No matter how you say it, I still hate it!” So it doesn’t really matter. As long as it’s a nice name, I just don’t care anymore.

“A name is a very personal thing. It is a powerful piece of who we are. I name is applied to us, identifies us, is the sound we respond to. Our name is an invocation of who we are… It is personal, it is fundamental; it is not all of who we are and yet we are someone quite different when it changes.” (Alexander Inglis)

My name is Elena, not Elaina, not Alana, not Elina, not Lena, or anything else. My name is foreign to the North American tongue, and I understand that. I’ve put up with my name being mispronounced for most of my life. But when people start insisting that they know better than me, on the subject of my name, It drives me insane. If I have to choose a more anglicised name for myself, let me do it, and just go along with it.

In South America, my name is Elena. In North America, I don’t have a name.




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Alpha-Lyrae said...
Feb. 16, 2010 at 7:08 pm:
very nice my friend! Now why does this seem familiar......:)
 
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