When I was little, I hated my name. It is foreign, and was unfamiliar to anyone who came across it, and I was too painfully shy to correct adults’ pronunciation or spelling. People thought it was a boy’s name. And it sounded so harsh, and grating, and coarse.
I still do hate my name. It still sounds harsh and horrid and ugly. I don’t hear it much anymore. Nowadays most of the communication I have is electronic, and often email isn’t tipped or tailed, so my name doesn’t appear in the text I read. I spell out my name in reply without sounding it out as my name.
I realized the above yesterday, when I had a friend over. As she was talking, and visiting my flat for the first time, she repeatedly used my name. And I heard its harsh horridness each time, and I wanted desperately to ask her to stop using it.
I am harsh and I am horrid. That’s what my name means to me. I am the one without any certain identity – I can mirror your speech pattern, your interests – but without you there, I am nothing. I don’t know who I am. I am lost and confused, and scared and sad. I feel about six years old, living in an adult world. That is my name to me. I am no good at intimacy or relationships, and I am full of anger and bitterness. I hurt people. That is me.
Once, I could imagine God speaking my name in prayer, and that was comforting. Once I wrote this prayer about being named by God. But now, I can’t sense any gentleness about God. I am concurrently drawn to, and frightened of, prayer. I want to be held tight by God; feel close to Him. But the voice in my head chides me using my name, repeatedly telling me to do more work, not be so rubbish, not be stupid. It feels like God is angry with me, too.
And I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get more done, or not be angry and sad. And feeling this way is horrid. My name is horrid.