What’s in a name?

No one may ever read this, but that’s okay, because I am finally realizing my dream of putting my thoughts and words out into the world. I thought about it and thought about it and thought about it until, finally, I told myself, “It’s time to put up or shut up. Either start writing or stop fantasizing about being a writer.” So here I am, and here you are dear reader, that is, if you even exist. Hopefully you exist. Oh God, please let someone read this.

This is an introduction, and introductions start with names. I chose the name Wednesday’s Child for this record of my thoughts, because my name is Wednesday. My name is Wednesday, because I was born on a Wednesday.

That’s a lie.

My name is Nyameche Kuukuwa Quansah. My dad named me. He is from Ghana, and my name is in the Fante dialect. Nyameche means God’s Gift. Kuukuwa means a girl born on Wednesday. Quansah means that people are forever asking me if my last name is spelled like the holiday (which,obviously, it isn’t). My father followed up the act of giving both my brother and I super-Ghanaian names by giving us absolutely no education about our heritage or Ghanaian relatives, ignoring all of my pleas to be taught how to speak Fante, being emotionally (and often physically) unavailable during our childhood, refusing to get treatment for his mental illness, being a fervently religious misogynist and disappearing the day after my thirteenth birthday with all of the money that he and my mother had managed to save between his job as a factory worker and her disability benefits. Rather an interesting way to treat a gift from God, right?

Anyway, this unfortunate series of events means that something as vital and simple as uttering my own name is wrought with emotion for me. My name symbolizes being a misfit, being abandoned by my father and being completely disconnected from a part of my heritage. I’m not overly fond of it, and so at the age of twenty-two, I decided that I would henceforth be known just as Wednesday. I haven’t legally changed my name, because somehow making a decision that drastic doesn’t feel right, but it does feel right to decide how I want to define my identity in terms of the way people address me on a daily basis. I’m only half-American, but I feel completely so. I am in constant mourning for the part of me that has been lost. I keep my name, because I don’t want to reject the parts of me that I don’t understand or that are painful. I want to reconcile with them. However, I  haven’t managed that reconciliation yet, and I hate using a name that feels just as foreign to me as it does to everyone else that I know. So, I settled for a less-than-accurate translation of my middle name, and a constant barrage of day-of-the-week jokes. (“You’re Wednesday? But, today is Monday!” Hardy-har-har, clever indeed.)

So now I have arrived at this point. I’m Wednesday’s child, literally. The song tells me that I should be full of woe, and often, I am. Welcome to my mind.

 

 

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