Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Embracing My Real Name

I admit that I used to hate my real name. It consists of 23 letters, a female Acehnese noble title, the month I was born, my grandma’s name and the combination of my parents’ name. My full name feels like a combination of different elements which I recognize as elements outside myself. I had been wondering whether my disliking my real name was because I subconsciously wish that I would be given a name that is only for me and has nothing to do with everything outside myself. Maybe I longed for an authentic wish to be manifested to my name, considering how some said that a given name equals the name giver’s wish. Also, it is super long that I had trouble filling the name field on the OMR sheets on most of the exams I took since I was in primary school. When my peers had started to work on their multiple choice problems, I would still be filling the circles on my name field. Even the given columns were not enough for my full name. In addition, the nickname my family gave me sound unisexual. Meanwhile, people who knew me by full name would call me by my noble title, “Cut”, which made me feel so weird.

That dreadful OMR name column
Driven by those feelings, I began to made my peers call me by alias that does not have anything to do with my real name, Kikie. It was quite a struggle to make people who already knew my real name to call me Kikie, but somehow I made it. Sometimes I am too lazy to advocate new people around me that I just tried to put up with being called “Cut” (I hated it). I passed many years being known as “Kikie Ise Febriani” by most of my online friends. Sometimes I would just introduce myself as Kikie, that some of my online friends thought that I am a boy (apparently because my writings sound like a boy’s).

One day I found an idea to shorten my name without keep sounding weird. I use this shortened name for my professional data, which is also used in this blog now. At first, I still feel strange for using it on facebook, instead of the usual Kikie Ise Febriani. I remember expressing that strange feeling on my facebook status, and got a long comment from my dad concerning how I was so ungrateful for the name they gave (over-reactive parents do overreact). I began to like the new shortened name based on my real name though, because it sounds pretty and ladyish for me. I liked it even more when people at postcrossing and the infamous Amitav Acharya complimented my “beautiful sanskrit name” (I happened to reach out to him for professional purpose on my previous internship). I also learned that Savitri is one of the characters in Mahabharata who is portrayed as wife whose devotion matched Draupadi. How fascinating, although my religious muslim parents must not intended to give me a Hindi name. It supposed to mean as the combination of their names anyway.

Since working began to take more of my time than studying at the college (and sadly, indulging on my hobbies), I have been using my real name more than my alias. When I started going out with my boyfriend, we decided that he would call me by the nickname my family used to give me (which I used to hate). Most of my coffee shop orders in the past year were made under my real name instead of my alias as well. In contrast, I feel strange whenever people still refer me as Kikie nowadays. Though I do not really mind whether they would call me Kikie or Febri nowadays. But still, no “Cut”s please.

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