I've never liked my name. I've never felt comfortable with it, never responded to it like I should.
If I was born a guy, I would be named "Sergei", the name of my grandpa, my uncle, my father, and now my cousin. I don't like that name, but, to tell you the truth, there are no Russian men's names that I like.
Instead, my mom debated naming me either "Ksenia" or "Alexandra". At the end, she settled on Ksenia, and my sister - born two and a half years later - got Alexandra.
Now, to understand my name, you gotta understand how Russian names work. There's the formal name "Ksenia" or "Alexandra", in this case; and the casual version, the nick-name for each name, used to refer to children and friends: Ksenia is "Ksyusha" and Alexandra is "Sasha".
So, for much of my childhood, I grew up, pretty pleased being "Ksyusha". Then, at the age of seven, I moved to the US, and went by "Ksyusha" here, too (I think I might have spelled it "Ksusha"). However, no one could pronounce my name, and, after a while, my mom and I decided that I would - from now on - go by "Ksenia". Now, no one could pronounce that either, but I didn't change it again.
I never felt like my name was a part of me. When someone would refer to me as "Ksenia", I would feel like a sudden distance formed between us, mostly caused by the fact that it was mispronounced. Whenever I said my own name, it made me cringe, because it's Russian pronounciation sounded so wrong within the context of the English language, and I could never intentionally mispronounce it, as my sister often does with our last name when people ask her what it is. What more, at home, the only time I was referred to as "Ksenia" was when my mother was angry at me, and I did enjoy being called "Ksyusha" at home.
What's worse, I envied my sister's name "Sasha". It was unique, yet simple, and easy to pronounce. And that name was almost - ALMOST - mine, while my name could have been hers. Would things have been different?
Summer 07 I became a CIT at Girl Scout camp, and I chose my camp name to be "Cream". The name comes from the character Cream the Rabbit from the video game Sonic the Hedgehog. A few of my friends from the internet had already been referring to me as Cream, so I quickly got used to it. Finally, I had a name I felt was my own, and began talking about myself in third person. "Cream" is still the name I am closest to.
Last summer, before starting college, I decided I needed a new name to go by in college. I quickly chose some variation of the name "K", because I had long ago decided it would fit me, simply because it's the fist letter of my first name, and a simple nickname. However, I didn't want to spell it "Kay", because I wanted to be unique, and went through a long list of possible names, trying to create a new one. At last, I settled on "Kae", a simple variation of the original using only letters from my given name. I'm starting to grow into it, and I'm enjoying being called "Kae" and reacting to it. However, I still feel distant from my name. At times, I would have great conversations with friends, and I would feel a sudden gap form when I they'd call me "Kae", especially over text or online talk, when I'd see it typed. I think it still takes getting used to, but I simply don't like the spelling, and I don't think there's a spelling of "K" that I like.
I feel like my whole life I'd lived so far away from my name, and I can't even imagine having one name that's me. Sometimes, I feel like I simply cannot have a name, that my identity transcends names. That's not necessarily a good thing, but just who I am and who I became throughout my life.
What's in a name, I wonder? Does your name affect the person that you are?
I saw on the news once about a woman who'd help parents choose their child's name based on the personality they wanted their kid to have.