Sometimes Shaune calls Deaglan Stan or John James McGillicuddy just to get a reaction. Our boy is usually quite adamant that his name is Deaglan William McNamara. At three, his name is already integral to his self concept; who he feels he is.
In university I had a few friends who would only call me Rohima. It was a time of intense scrutiny for me. Of who I was and who I wanted to be. Remember that time? Freedom from home. The feeling that you could rewrite the rules, that anything was possible. Back then I had a nose ring and only wore Doc Martens.
I seriously considered changing my name.
I didn't though. I had already been Kim for too long. Besides that it would have been a pain in the ass, I wasn't sure I could live up to it's exotic sounding ring.
Rohima. It was who I was for the first seven years of my life. When I called Cobu mother and Esupe father. A time when I only knew god as Allah. A time when I owned no shoes in a place where the sun burned hotter, where the ocean and the government posed a threat. And there was never enough to eat.
I was Rohima in a place where children starve. Where women bear the brunt but men have the power. Where to disagree with men and the government can get you killed. In this place I was Rohima.
No I didn't change my name.
But I do think about that seven year-old girl once in a while. New to Canada. No English on her lips. A small girl who had lost so much of who she thought she was. Cobu, Esupe, Allah. How must she have felt when she was no longer called Rohima? When they began to call her Kim, did she insist she was Rohima?
I'm pouring my heart out with Shell.