As another jam-packed day wound down, I began to tune in the chatter around me. My ears perked up when someone asked a new writer/producer with an uncommon name if she’d ever been able to buy any ready-made memorabilia with her name on it.
“No,” she replied with a chuckle. “I haven’t. I got so excited when I took my son to Sesame Place and saw all this stuff with his name. I wanted to buy everything.”
Another writer/producer whose name is spelled non-traditionally said she’s had the same problem.
“You look like you have something to say,” someone shouted.
“I can’t pick up anything with my name on it that’s not custom either.”
“How do you say your full name again?” Asked another co-worker.
“Mmm-tam-uh-knee-Kah,” I replied.
When I was little, I used to watch the women look into a mirror on “Romper Room” and shout out the names of little boys and girls. I’d hope that they’d say mine. Since everyone has called me Nika for as long I can remember, I was even willing to take the names: Nick, Nikki, Nina. And, on days when I was particularly desperate, Tammy would’ve sufficed. But, I never heard any variation of my name. I’m pretty sure that’s the last time I cared that my name was unique.
When a teacher or professor got to my name in class, he or she would inevitably pause with a puzzled look on their face. I’d just say, “it’s me.”
At my college graduation ceremony, my whole name was botched again. But, I refused to walk across the stage until Father Barth got it right.
Still, I’ve never wished my name was different. As I got older I learned to embrace my uniqueness from my gruff voice to my rare autoimmune condition. And, I proudly placed my my whole unique name on my license, the mortgage for my house, the loan for my car, and my awards. It’s on everything that matters and not on some little trinkets. But, perhaps someday, MTamanika will also be a top of a bestseller’s list.
Read days 1-30: https://nikabeamon.com
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