A lot. I once hated my name.
My name is Sajatha. Growing up, I hated my name. Why? Because my name was one of a kind, it did not fit in. It didn't ring to me. It had lots of 'a' in it. It had a 'th' in it. It just did not go with who I thought I was back then. I hated my name once.
During all of childhood and most of my first decade of adulthood, I found my name to be a loner. There are similar names, such as 'Sujatha, Sajitha, Sajna, Sajda.' But mine was always the only name in the class, even the school. I have so far not come across another person with my name correctly as it is pronounced or spelled. It is hard seeing most people have a confused look on their faces when I say what my name is. They have this "Are you sure it is how you say it? Are you sure you have not got it spelled wrong?"
Yes, I had an excellent 3 decade where I found it hard to relate to the given name that I am supposed to be identified with.
Names are funny in a funny way. It is given to us by our loved ones, in most cases. It is a tag, an identifier in this world of seven billion people. The first name that is. There is always a story behind the names. I am fascinated by the stories people tell when asked the "How did your name come by?" question.
I have asked my dad, who gave me the name, the questions "Why did you pick the spelling as it is? Why did you pick that name?" I myself have stories about the names I picked for my kids.
As I entered into the fourth decade of my life, I began loving the given name of mine. I found acceptance for the title as well as who I am evolving into. First three decades, even though I now can not say why I could not think of myself as the name I was given, I spent resenting the name I now love and adore.
The beginning of the third decade, as I moved to the US my name was pronounced wrong most of the time. I found myself saying my name as it was referred to as by most people who came across the name. Reason? It was just easier than correcting anyone. I introduced myself as "Sajatha pronounced as Sajaatha." It is not for another six years that I begin calling myself and feeling myself as I am now. I am 38 years old this year. Until 2016, I did not correct anyone with my name. I still don't if someone says it wrong. But I do introduce myself as "I am Sajatha." With all short 'A's.
My name might not be that unique. Come on, 7 billion people. I am not that special.
I write about my name now because it stands for something. I could not accept or acknowledge my name as it is because I was not accepting who I was. My inside was not matching the exterior persona I was putting forward. I was a people pleasing, societal rule following without question, scared human being. It took an outstanding amount of life challenges and a lot of surrendering to be where I can stand up and say "hello, my name is Sajatha."
Being authentic, true to your nature, who you are is very important. What a name has to do with it? Probably not much. But in my case, in my life, it had a whole lot of significance. To me, being able to own my given name was part of my self-identity that I had denied for a long while. When I embraced who I am as I define it, with the daily evolution and learning, the world as I knew till then changed for me. I became the change I wanted to see.
Embrace who you are as you define it. The world will change if we all can change a bit; if we all can be a little bit more true to ourselves.
Acknowledge your authentic self; Accept who you are with all the flaws and fabs.