The complicated relationship with my name



Opeyemi : I should give thanks/ be thankful [to God].



Hmm. Where do I begin? For the longest time I had a love hate relationship with my name Opeyemi. I didn't like it because it was unisex. I mean, how could it be unisex? And then I came to understand more about Yoruba names and so I began to appreciate the benefits of a unisex name. Once that was over I began to despise how my name sounded- or rather how incorrectly people would pronounce it. It didn't help that I myself couldn't pronounce my name properly - the P gets me every time. It began to really grate me that people would mispronounce it and so around the age of 19/20 I started to go by the name Ruth, after all it is my middle name and is on my passport too. Some people understood and others did not. To this day you'll still get some people calling me Ruth which I am fine with. I actually took it upon myself to make an announcement about this on Facebook and also on whatsapp and I do appreciate those who respected my requests and adjusted accordingly. This went on for another few years but then I had a 'brainwave' of sorts; why not go by the name Yemi rather than Opeyemi? I mean even Nigerians shorten their name anyway and Yemi is a popular shortened version of different names such as Ibiyemi,Adeyemi, Olayemi, Opeyemi, etc (you get the drift). So once I finished my degree that became what I was known by at work. And till date that is the version I used in my masters and anything work related. Naturally Yemi is not often pronounced well but it is way better than how Opeyemi is/has been murdered by often well meaning people.



I am starting to get a bit not so woo about being called Ope/Opey as most times it is mispronounced too but I do not know if I can be bothered to make a public service announcement about that too. I just leave it as there is an anglisized way that people say it and the proper Yoruba way of saying it.



As mentioned before people still call me Ruth which I am perfectly fine with and it has grown on me. I think really the biggest frustration is the fact that I can't even say my own name properly and so it feels a bit cheeky requesting it from others. It is what it is I guess. The one thing however that I just can't stomach is being with a guy who cannot pronounce my name well. That would really grind my gears. Luckily, I don't have to worry about that.



So there you have it, my complicated relationship with my name. Nowadays I go by Yemi at work, and Opeyemi or Ruth otherwise. The cool thing is that dependent on what you call me I can place when we met in life; secondary school friends and undergrad friends call be Ope/Opeyemi whilst other friends that I have met from later on or outside of that call me that or Ruth. The one thing that I do try to live up to is the meaning of my name Opeyemi. It's not always easy but it is possible. And then Ruth, I mean who wouldn't want the characteristics that Ruth in the Bible embodied? My parents did a great job with the names they gave me even if I do say so myself.



How about you? What does your name mean? Do you even like your name? Spill it all in the comment section below.