Thursday, May 1, 2014

Dissociative Moment


I just had a dissociative moment. I looked at my full name, first and last, on facebook and didn't recognize it as my name for a moment.

Because Nigerian names are so unfamiliar to most in the NW, and penned by my residency classmates, I've started going by Chi or sometimes Dr. Chi. Which is cute on several levels, yes, but that's not my name. My name is Chinyere. Everyone in medical school called me Chinyere, except the West Africans and my Romanian friend called me ChiChi on occasion.

Chinyere, ChiChi--those are my names. I refuse to use ChiChi in the professional standpoint, but I'm Chinyere.

Then, my SO's friends call me by my middle name because that's how he's introduced me for months before they met me, because he doesn't want them to butcher my name, but that's also disorienting...and then his mother calls me my middle name in Albanian...

And at the end of the day, I've been called other than Chinyere the entire time that I barely feel like Chinyere anymore.

And that's a weird feeling.

I call home, and my mother is more likely to call me one of my many nicknames with her (including, but not limited to Missy, Missy Moosey, Lucy, Lucinda, etc.). I can count on one hand the number of times my mother has actually called me Chinyere (well...maybe if I don't count Chinyere-bee-baby...for those who don't know how to pronounce my name, re-bee rhymes with baby).

My father...almost never calls me by my name unless he's locating me in the house or commanding me to do something. So the only correct way I know how to pronounce my name (because I even mispronounce my name to make it easier for English speakers) is in the context of a shout.


I think the rest of the time, he calls me Nne Nne...or nothing.

Oh yeah, more nicknames from my mother - Chich (pron. Cheech...she never calls me ChiChi), Chichmeister...

Yeah, I guess my father doesn't have a ton of nicknames for me. I'm Nne Nne, my brother is Nna. Or Nne Nne Le and Nna Le. Or Nna Nka.

I really regret that I don't know Igbo.

So I spent a lot of my life either being called out of my name or having my name butchered by those around me. My friends always knew how to pronounce my name, though.

But after a full day of being called Chi and Dr. Chi (occasionally actually hearing my last name)'s a weird, dissociative feeling. I feel like I used to be Chinyere, but now, I'm Chi.

That's it. I'm going to start using my full name again. No more, "Red team, this is Chi." It's back to, "Red team, this is Chinyere," when I'm on service.

Because I love my name, and I feel the most me with it.

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