I hate my name. No, hate is too strong. A better verb would be “to dislike”. I dislike my name because it defines who I am without giving me the chance to even introduce myself. I could sit here and type story after story about someone butchering my name but instead, I’ll leave you with a list of privileges one has if he or she has an American name.
- You will never find yourself in an awkward situation like your teacher ignoring your raised hand because she can’t remember how to pronounce your name. (True story. Thanks Geometry teacher from sophomore year!)
- You can give your actual name to the hostess instead of a fake name that sounds somewhat like your name (“I’m Sam!”)
- People don’t assume you’re Asian after reading your name. You still have the mystery of “what race am I?” behind your name.
- Ice Breakers? Of course, they’re awkward but at least you aren’t the kid who everyone secretly hates because of your atypical name that is so damn difficult to memorize (“John, Taylor, Lucy, and uh um See Youn?”)
- Your gender was never questioned because of your name (“Oh! I totally thought you would be a dude!”)
- You were never asked “but what’s your American name?”
- Or “so what does your name really mean?”
- Even better! “Is there a space between Se and Young?” NO THERE IS NOT. IT IS SEYOUNG. ONE NAME. ONE WORD. I DON’T CALL YOU SA-RAH DO I?!
- No one tells you that you should get an American name so you can make it easier on everyone.
I wanted to change my name because I assumed that I would be happier. No one would mispronounce my name. I could stop cringing every time I said my name to a stranger. I wouldn’t feel embarrassed about playing Ice Breakers because it wasn’t my name that ruined the flow. I would be better off.
Well I’m wrong. There’s no need to change my name to suit the needs of someone else. If a stranger cannot pronounce my name then he’s either a terrible listener or not worth my time. If my professor decides to blatantly ignore me then I can blatantly ignore her pointed finger (I’m not a dog. You can’t simply point and expect me to roll over). If a classmate accidentally mistakes me for some other Asian kid whose name is completely different than mine then I have every right to correct them.
I love my name because it means “go screw yourself if you think I’m this or that because of it. You’re ignorant and unnecessary in my life. Good bye!”