So for the last post of the A to Z challenge (which I am determined to finish, even though it’s now May) I figured I might as well make use of my own name!
Growing up, I struggled a lot with my identity. Many young people do. I was born in India and came to New Zealand when I was less than six months old. My parents are both Anglo-Indian, which means they’re a mix of English, Indian, and a couple of other bits. They were brought up in India, but with the influence of British culture.
For me, this meant that I didn’t quite fit into an easy cultural box – I wasn’t quite an Indian (my dad’s specialties in the kitchen are roast potatoes and Irish stew), I wasn’t quite a kiwi, and even though my heritage gives me more English blood than anything else, I’m certainly not culturally English.
So for me, I needed something that was already mine, and was completely mine. This is is where my name comes in. It’s a Greek name meaning ‘daughter of Zeus’ or ‘sent by God’. It was also the name of Queen Zenobia of Palmyra. I wasn’t by any stretch of the imagination a goddess or a queen, but my name gave me something to hold on to that made me feel worthy, important and strong.
Interestingly, not many people actually call me Zenobia anymore! In my late teens, I was given and later adopted the easier name of ‘Zee’ and it stuck. It’s easy to say and easy to remember. More importantly, I began to feel better within myself and didn’t need to hold on to my name to give me that sense of identity and self-worth it could provide.
I don’t think my parents realised any of that when they named me, though. When I questioned their choice of name they said ‘We just liked it’.
There’s a lot in a name.