Thursday, May 14, 2009

What's In A Name?

It's been so long since I actually examine my name. I've held some self-made interpretation about my name since I was little, and I actually do have a lot of names. I'm a Chinese-Indonesian so I have Chinese name and Indonesian name. My father actually mis-named me in Chinese so I have two Chinese name. My Indonesian name is hard to be pronounced by people from other countries (I was traumatized by the way it was pronounced in an international airport when I was little and ever since then I'd been looking for an 'international name' for me to use) - and now I have an 'international name'. When I was a kid I played with my sister a lot about a made-up world in which I was the king, and I had a name as the king (and I also gave a name to my sister in that world (she was the prince) which she still uses until now). I had some nick-names in elementary school but it never became really famous. But in junior high school I did get a nick name that got so famous that most of my high school friend actually forgot my name and remembered that nickname. Oh yeah, I also have a name in the group of friends I had when I was in elementary school - I took some famous people names and twisted them a bit. I actually have no name for being in the gay community - maybe only Ryan, but that's actually my real name, kind of.

From all of those names, anyway, I have three favorite names. The first one is one of my Chinese names, the second one is my Indonesian name, and the third one is my international name. I have no real story for my international name, just that it was taken from a woman I considered as the mentor in my life, the woman who actually helped me realized that I'm gay and it's okay. Sometimes I actually also put the first and second name of my international name together and create an international nickname. Confused yet? Hehe.

So, I like my Chinese name, the actually 'wrong' name because I could interpret it to fit me best. The first word, my family name, means clarity of mind and it can be interpreted as smart. I know many people are smarter than me, but I think I have that clarity of mind, in the meaning that when there is a complicated case, I can understand many points of view that I can see the right from wrong or in between. Sometimes I like it because I can understand the case completely and be the moderator or negotiator. The only reason I don't like it is just that to other people it would seem that I couldn't take a stand or make a decision.

The second word of my Chinese name actually means rainbow. Another sign, huh? The LGBT flag. I like it, though. In many myths, rainbow means the gateway between heaven and earth. In the bible, rainbow means the reconciliation between God and humanity. I like the rainbow because there are many colors there, like there are many personalities in me. Like you can't say that the rainbow color is red or blue or purple, you also can't say I'm simply lazy or dilligent or even in between. Even one of my friends ever said something to me akin to "You're not black, you're not white, and you're not even grey." Lately I've been thinking that way too about my sexuality. Heh.

The last word of my Chinese name consists of three suns. I mean, the character is made of three characters of sun. An elderly person ever said to me that means that I'm so bright (in the means of aura). I don't feel that I have a particularly bright aura, though. I'm not what you think as a happy-go-lucky person. I actually get mad as easily as Donald Duck (who shares my birthday). I'm also very good at being invisible. I can be there in one gathering or party and having people not noticing that I was there at all. I interpret that character more in the meaning, crystal. It's about honesty to me. I learn about truth and honesty from Melissa, but even before that I've never been good at lying. The guilt always chokes me afterwards. I'm not so stupidly honest, but sometimes I'm painfully honest. The more it scares me to be honest, the more I push myself to let it out. The very least I can do is being truthful to myself. I can keep that as a secret from other people, but I will never deny a truth to myself. I actually googled the meaning of a crystal, and is said: wisdom, cleansing, healing, pureness of heart, intention, positive thoughts, harmony and love. Well, of course I'm not all that good, but it's what I aim to have, so it's not bad at all, isn't it?

I like my Indonesian name because it transcends ethnicity and it transcends religion. That's all I can say, but it warms my heart that I have such special parents who don't fear naming me with a name of other ethnicity and religion than their own, even though the story of my naming always makes people laugh.

Anyway, I don't care the saying that your name affects who you are. I'd rather believe that it's the way you interpret your name that will affect who you are. I believe that you can decide who you are going to be, and maybe this is one of the ways. The philosophy and beliefs you take from your name will affect the way you view yourself and later it will affect the way you carry yourself in front of other people, and then it just becomes who you are. Besides, the hopes and well-wishes from your parents (or the people who gave you that name) when they decided to give you that name are always worth cherishing, right?

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