Life and Living It!

What’s in a name?

Pssst…come closer. Hey, I’m so sorry you didn’t hear from me on Tuesday, like I’d promised. Forgive me? Aww…thank you! Gosh, I have so much to tell you, I don’t even know where to start! Oh, I know where…do you remember our last b’versation? That’s blogversation, by the way. (I know, I know, I’m always trying to make up words and stuff). Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, you remember my last post from August,“An American”?

Yup, that one! So after swearing the oath of allegiance to Uncle Sam, came a part that I was very excited about, but had no idea what was coming my way. Reverting to my maiden name! Gosh, It has been such a hassle to get it done. It took 3 whole months, just to get it changed on my social! And that’s not the end, I have to change it everywhere! Driver’s license, financial accounts, medical documents…EVERYWHERE!

I finally picked up my new card with my new names, at the social security office last week. Phew! To start the change process, I sent out an email at my work place announcing my new names. I got tons of emails back congratulating me on the change and several asking how my new names were pronounced! Then a colleague asked, “why are you changing your name”? “Just when I got used to Philippa”! “I have never heard of someone change their first name, only their last name, either due to marriage or a divorce”. His statement got me thinking of a popular quote, “What’s in a name”?

Juliet Capulet asked this same question. “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.” Oh, sorry. You don’t know who Juliet is? Truthfully, neither do I! But William Shakespeare, made her say it! And if you don’t know who he is either then errr….

Anyway, what Juliet said suggests that names themselves do not hold worth nor meaning, and they simply act as labels to distinguish one thing or person from another.

I do not agree with Juliet! Names are not just to identify people or things! Names have meanings! See, a name is the first piece of information you have about a person. It can cause either a good or bad first impression of a person, when you meet them!

You see, my father is an Ewe (for my non Ghanaian readers, Ewe (not a female sheep) is a language spoken by people in the Volta Region of Ghana). Ewe names are of great importance and believed to affect the personality and destiny of a person. So names are chosen carefully, based on several factors; events surrounding the conception and/or birth of the person, family, ancestral or blood lineage, order of birth (first, second…), and even simple everyday activities/interactions the mother engages in during pregnancy; can determine the name that the child will be given!

Interestingly, I was not given a name based on any of the afore mentioned reasons! In fact, I was named Philippa! A name of Greek origin! My father says he named me after one of his uncles (Philip). But I also like to think, all the philosophy books; including ones on Greek philosophical thinkers my father was reading at the time, inspired my naming too!

Anyway, Philippa means “lover of horses”. Ahem! Not that I don’t love horses, but I have only been around a horse once or twice in my life! So I don’t know how the meaning applies to me. I did also find out though that the name is also understood to mean “noble”. Maybe that’s what my father was going for…?

All my life until just last week, I have been known and called Philippa. Ok, so many people have had difficulty saying or spelling the name, especially in America of all places! (Gasp)Yes, I was shocked too! I have heard, “Philapi”, “Flipa”, “Philapia”, “Pilipa”, (yes, Pilipa)! (rolling my eyes) I got so tired of telling people my name was the female version of Philip (which of course, they had no problem pronouncing correctly) (eye roll again), I decided to do the necessary!

I had always wanted an Ewe name, so I’d chosen the name Sedinam, meaning “God/Destiny provides for me”, “Destiny is my luck” or “God/Destiny saves me”. The name, as the meanings go, have very much been the story of my life! “Se” in my language, has several meanings – God / law / destiny / fate. The word “Se”, comes from “Dzogbese” which is an Ewe concept of destiny / fate. It is a combination of three words, dzo (to come into beingI) gbe (day or voice) and se (law, force, power or God).

I believe we all have a purpose/destiny/a reason, for our existence on Earth! And each one of us, based on our actions / inactions and predetermined events, help create or change our destinies! However, destiny is not devoid of God’s control (my humble opinion). Anyway, this b’versation is not about who or what determines destiny, so I’ll leave that here!

My new name, initially came to life when I applied for my adjustment of status, when I first came to the US. I used it as my middle name and very few people knew or called me by it. When I decided to naturalize, I also decided to revert to my maiden name. Which is one of the main reasons people go through a legal name change. But instead of only reverting to my maiden name, I decided to switch my first and middle names too! But knowing how the name Philippa was butchered, I didn’t want same to happen to Sedinam. So I chose to use the short form of the name – Sedi. It has the same meaning as Sedinam, only difference is that the “me” part is taken out.

I chose this name because, I believe in God and His destiny for my life. I also believe that He has given us free will to be able to make choices which can help shape our destinies. Though a lot of my choices in life have not been the best, every time I have called on God to help me with them or even after I have made the bad/wrong choices, He has always shown up and saved or provided a way or means for me! I chose Sedi, to remind myself daily of God’s saving grace, to remind myself to always make the right choices; and to always call on Him, even when they are/were not right ones! And last, but not the least reason; Sedi sounds really sweet, and I am looking forward to my GFTDHBM calling me by it!

So you see why I don’t agree with Juliet? If there was nothing in a name, why couldn’t she be with Romeo? It was all in his last name, MONTAGUE! By the way, here’s mine – Avevor! Yes, it has a meaning too, but can we talk about it some other time?

(yawn) Ok, I have to catch a few zzzs, it’s Monday and I have to go to work in a few hours!

I remain,

Sedimentally Yours!

One Reply to “What’s in a name?”

  1. Makes an interesting read and demonstrate a level of maturity that is evident of an appreciable level of emotional stability and the believe in God.
    I truly am glad to have been left with such an impression. Cheers.

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