Say my name, say my name

Start of a new term at school, a new teacher, yet another dreaded pause before your name on the register.
The feign pretence of trying to pronounce it is agonising.
Deliberate too, so you’ll jump in and save their English tongue that cannot fathom foreign sounds.
You get older.
Some will blatantly say, “I don’t know how to say that”, straight after you introduce yourself.
Others will coin their own pronouncement of it because they know your name better than you.
Why couldn’t you be called Hannah or Laura – something plain, something British.
You’ll welcome nicknames – anything to fit in.
But don’t you see? Words have power, names have power.
You’ll emphasis your Christian middle name because let’s face the sad fact that is, employers make assumptions when they see your very non-British name on applications.
You might even reply sassy emails to recruiters who want to see “proof of your right to work in the UK”.
You grow wiser.
Words have power, names have power.
What’s in a name? It was given to you before you could even talk.
Given from your parents, you had no say.
But if you’ve lived the majority of your life with a single parent you’ll grow to cherish that gift.
It’s remanent of times past, parents no longer living.
Words have power, names have power.
You’re going to stop apologising every time you have to sign your long name for deliveries.
Your name has power.
Embrace the non-English make-up of it. Unusual letters that crash together, shouting to be spoken.
Our names are as beautiful as the cultures they derive from.
Don’t white-wash it, fear it or hide from it.
Claim it. Refuse to have it unacknowledged.
Words have power, names have power.

Quote: Uzo Aduba
Words & Illustration: Radhika Mary