Hi! My name is…
October 18, 2018
The truth is names are a part of every culture and are of enormous importance to those who receive them. Your name is the foundation upon which your individual identity forms and often ties into your individual values, gender, religion and race. This past month Eastside talked to various students to better understand the relationship students have with their names. Keep on reading to learn more!
Hi! My name is Abbrielle Lindberg (’19)
“My parents were searching the Internet and came across my name, which means something like “fathers happiness” and thought to themselves “complicated sounds nice and has a good meaning? We’ll take it!” But in reality I don’t dislike my name at all, although I swear it’s always being misspelled/mispronounced. I’ve seen it as “Abrielle, Abriel, Abigail, Gabrielle, Gabbriella” As a result when I was in elementary school I made this song rap thing to help people remember how to spell it, it went “A Double B R I Double E with Two L’s In between.” I thought I was sooo cool (I wasn’t). Either way, I love my name and every time I hear someone say “you have such a pretty name” or “it’s so unique I have never heard of it before” it makes the few painful butcherings worth it.”
Hi! My name is Lakshaye Anand (’19)
“Lakshaye means a goal or a target in life in Hindi!! But a lot of people, especially in Mr. Rouen’s Chem class last year, would usually add boomshaka in front of Lakshaye because it kinda goes with the flow. And then some call me LACKshaye which annoys me because it makes me feel like I’m lacking in something.”
Hi! My name is Debora Goldberg (’20)
“My name comes from the Bible. Deborah (different spelling than my name) was the only female prophet, which made her a really powerful woman. The name also means victorious. Knowing that this is what my name means changes my perspective on life; it helps me remember that I can achieve anything I put my mind to.”
Hi! My name is Theodore Ruddow (’22)
When I was twelve, I finally discovered and accepted that I was a boy. This marked the beginning of an ongoing journey that is never going to get easier. But the story behind my name itself is simple and rather underwhelming. Starting online, I experimented with different names – Damien, Adam, Andrew, etc. – and nothing felt right. They were nothing more than fake names and not the identity I was looking for. Eventually, I moved on to yet another name – Theo. It felt totally different. I can’t explain it besides that it just clicked, as if it was my name and had always been. I used that name to come out to my friends and family, and the latter helped me choose a middle name – Isaac. We are proud of our family history and Isaac was the name of one of our most prominent ancestors from the early 1800s. If I had been born male, it was the middle name I would have been given, and so I took it as a tribute to my family. Since I had given up the name they gave me when I was born, it felt only right. My name contributes so much to my self-confidence and acceptance of who I am, and I am proud of the fact that I own it.
Hi! My name is Jewel Kunnumpuram (’19)
Hi! My name is Saurabh Shah (’19)
My name literally translates to “fragrance” in Hindi. So why did my parents name me this? Was this a clever way to get back at me for filling the house with unsavory scents during my infancy? Maybe. Or maybe they just wanted to remind me to always wear deodorant?
Too lazy to ask my parents, I’m left only to speculate, searching for some deeper meaning to such a random name. Perhaps, like the delectable scent of baked goods, I’m on the minds of everyone in my presence (or prescents), filling their thoughts with nothing but pure happiness. Realistically, it’s probably not any of these things. I think they just liked the way it sounds. “Saurabh. Suh-rub.” Pretty cool name I guess.
Hi! My name is Blake Weiss (’19)
“As a trans person, I chose my own name. I wasn’t given this name when I was born, but I had to instead go through a path of self discovery to reach the point of coming up with a name for myself. I still wanted to keep the same initials because I was named after my mom’s dad who died when she was a child.”
Hi! My name is Caleb O’Neill (’19)
Hi! My name is Chen Zayden (’19)
When I first moved to the United States, I went to a private Jewish school, where I tried to find myself an American name to make it easy for others to communicate with me. I asked people to call me Hannah, which was the closest American name to my own that I could think of. Even though I wanted to make it easy for myself and others by having an American name, I eventually asked everyone to call me Chen again because I love my name and no other name would fit me better. Once I moved to a regular public school, I realized how hard it is for Americans to pronounce my name. I had a teacher who called on students randomly during class. He would call on me every day, but I often didn’t realize it because he couldn’t pronounce my name. I only realized that he called on me when the class was silent and everyone stared at me. I even had a teacher who called me “Hank”, after I corrected her multiple times. When I order food or drinks in a place that asks for a name to go with the order, I don’t even bother saying my real first name. I either give the place my middle name or spell out “Chen” because I don’t like introducing myself by pronouncing my own name wrong. Every once in a while, someone asks me for the origin or meaning of my name because it’s so “unique”, but usually I just get a weird look as a reaction to my name. I even have friends who told me that they initially did not speak to me at all because they didn’t want to offend me by mispronouncing my name.
Many people don’t understand that a lot of “weird” names have a meaning behind them. Even though my name is very common in Israel, it is odd and hard to pronounce for most Americans. I was named after my great great grandmother, whose name was Channah. My mother was nine years old the day she passed away and promised God that she’ll name her first child after her because she loved her so much. Chen is the modern version of the name Channah, and it means grace or beauty.
Hi! My name is Liliana Pugliese (’19)
“I was originally gonna be named Sophia Claire. But when my mom was pregnant with me, she watched an Italian movie (My dad is an immigrant from Italy) and saw “Liliana” in the credits. She liked it, so that became her final decision. And Liliana means the flower “Lily” and that is what everyone calls me. It has been my nickname since forever!”