It is no longer strange and shocking when I hear all sort of mispronunciation of my name. Sometimes it sounds weird and often times it is just funny. The thought that I could probably have rechristened myself while I was 14 hours on board my Delta flight from Nigeria to some sha’s/ dra’s like Latisha, Keisha, Shokensha, Shondra, Mirandra just in a bid to spare myself from the gazes I get everywhere when my name is called and millions of heads turn trying to catch a glimpse of the person whose name sounds foreign. My name has created a lot of drama as a result of the difficulty in pronouncing it since my arrival in the U.S.
My name is Ayomidamope and it simply means “my Joy mixes with thanks.” The cause of the situation surrounding my birth; been the only surviving of triplets could not but make my parents dig deep for a well thought of name that embodies all their emotions: the joy, the hope, miracle my birth brought along . I have had to answer questions like, ” Do you speak Swahili?’ just because my name sounds different and also the frustration of telling some bunch of dummies that Africa is a continent with millions of people and not just another country like Puerto rico.
I knew I could easily have opted for my middle name which is English but sticking to my African name does mean more than just the name .Every name we answer to as Africans has a great meaning attached to it because it is mostly well thought of. I have relish the everyday experiences of living in America but I still carry the identity of who I am and where I come from with me in my name.
The challenges of mispronouncing and misspelling my name are all reasonable and the feelings evoke from the errors are not bothersome no more. I now quickly come to the rescue of my professors in class immediately I could read the look on their faces that depict their reluctance of both not to offend and the choking in trying to make an effort to call my name. Anyway, I am here to maintain an identity not transform it and America is known as the melting pot of nationalities and cultures and as long as that remain, just learn to call my name.
Image Source: http://thewildpomegranate.com/2010/12/23/say-my-name/