I Accept Two Names
Oyindasola agency “Honey caked into my wealth”. It’s a adequately accepted Nigerian name, mainly acclimated for girls. Legally, I’m known as Oyindasola but my appellation is Chelsea. Some ask why I don’t go by my absolute name and I acquaint them what my ancestor told me: A adventure about him visiting Chelsea, South West London a year too late; a year afterwards I was born. I acquaint them that this appellation batten to him so abundant that it had to be acclimated on every altogether block of mine. Chelsea was sprawled in bathetic icing every year. I’d draft out anniversary candle with confidence– my bearing name, acceptable as blurred as the afire wicks.
At seven years old, central the brick walls of our townhouse in Brooklyn, I fabricated a decision. We were affective to Nigeria, and my mother bare to apperceive what ancestors there would alarm me. The appellation I’d been alleged for as continued as I could bethink or the complicated cord of syllables on my passport. A simple question. But it tore me apart. Dad wasn’t advancing with us and I couldn’t appreciate it, but actuality alleged annihilation added than Chelsea fabricated alike beneath sense. A anniversary after we begin ourselves in an airport with the aggregate hum of Nigerians and tourists advancing our aerial as we headed for the cab. Lagos, Nigeria. It was annihilation like the movies mom watched aback in New York. In the flesh, it was abundant added ablaze than the images they showed on news. Afterwards a anniversary of accepting acclimated to the thicker voices, spicier foods, and bluff scents, I fell into routine.
Soon, memories of Disney were replaced with sounds of adroit Afrobeat music from the brand of Lagbaja and Fela Kuti that grandpa would comedy in his decayed atramentous BMW. Bobbing my arch forth in the backseat, I’d consistently try to calculation the boom beats. My argot grew added with the Nigerian accent. My skin, brindled with mosquito bites from arena alfresco for too long. The words aggregate amid my mother and grandma, in their built-in tongue, were assuredly authoritative sense. But, I still wasn’t Nigerian enough. There, I was accomplished to be acquiescent and obedient. Elders led by principle, “Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child.” Where assertiveness was beheld as aplomb in New York, it was aweless in Nigeria. I approved to be softer, quieter, a adviser and not a speaker. But aloof looks and base animadversion were a connected admonition of who I was. The American babe with the phony, westernized name.
So, I wasn’t actually ashamed aback mom appear our alteration aback to The States for her career. On the aboriginal day of average academy in America, all-overs coursed through me because I knew my bearing name wouldn’t escape the appearance account aloof as I couldn’t escape that classroom. The airless allowance with linoleum asphalt and stinging, ablaze beaming light. I was mortified. Clenching my stomach, I attempt up my duke aback the abecedary all but accurately argument out the acutely continued name. O-yin-da-sola? “Here.” Fifth graders confused their pupils and snickered beyond the allowance as I looked bottomward at bound hands. I hated it. I hated every additional of answer that it’s aloof the name I was built-in with, a accidental cord of words on paper. “I go by Chelsea.”
But with every casual year, came new confidence. Every new appearance cycle alarm elicited a der articulation and a added smile. That continued name, mispronounced or not, is mine. The Nigerian emphasis bottomward through aback I’d say the appropriate accentuation is mine. Who I am is simple: a Nigerian babe with admission to the American dream, not befitting to any average or label. A babe with two languages and a Spotify playlist that varies greatly. But I accept two names and I don’t mind.
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