Thursday Born

The everyday life of a psychiatry resident (who was born on a Thursday).

New Name – Reverb 10, Day 23

with 10 comments

What is Reverb10?

December 23 – New Name. Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why? (Author: Becca Wilcott)

I suppose I would go with Coco. Coco was one of the names in the running for me, after Coco Chanel, but it, and Paige, lost out to a very traditional Ghanaian name, Aba (If you follow me on twitter, that’s my full name but next to no one calls me that). I was in theory named after someone (I always forget who), but it was somewhat a naming after of convenience.

See, in Ghana, most (all?) of the tribes have names that are associated with the days of the week. Obviously, not every one actually uses those names, and many people have them but go by one of their other names. My three older brothers, for example, were all born on Wednesday and share the same day name, but only the eldest is referred to by it. I don’t have any other official names, and have always gone by Aba, which is my name because I was born on a Thursday. Hence, the name of my blog. I’ve been meaning to thoroughly explain that for a while.

I used to not like my name. I didn’t exactly dislike it, but it just… it didn’t sound pretty to me. Perhaps it’s because most media I read and watched was Western, so I had a westerner’s ear for what names should sound like. And not too many people I knew went by their day names. I was actually the only person I knew in my school in Ghana who went by Aba. And it wasn’t that I wanted a Western name. There are plenty of Ghanaian names that I thought were prettier.

Then somewhere along the line, I started to make peace with my name. A few people I told that I disliked my name, non-Ghanaians, were surprised and said they really like my name. But I think it all came together as I myself came together, more fully accepted who I was, and a part of that was accepting how I am called. I learned to like my name, and much more recently, I think I can say that I love it.

Having struggled for so long with my name, I can’t spend an entire post on a different one. No, this name, my given name, the name I have responded to all my life, that is the name that deserves a post.

Well, that and another. You have heard of Anansi the spider, yes? Well,  he’s Ghanaian, and Anansi literally means Eight Legs. So no, in Ghana, we do not call him Anansi the spider. His name is Kweku Anansi, because he was born on a Wednesday (like my brothers!). And this is why my mother had wanted to name my oldest brother Spider. Sadly, my oldest brother was not named Spider, but it makes for a fun story. :)

Written by Aba

December 23, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Posted in Reverb 10

10 Responses

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  1. i too used to hate my name for years, and my hair too! I still hate that my name is so difficult for all Westerners, but i’ve finally accepted that it IS quite pretty.
    now, i try to force people to say it correctly since i hate when people say it the way it’s written (not their fault)… i’ve finally gotten used to the fact that if someone asks me what my name is, it’ll take a few seconds for me to repeat, for them to repeat and them to screw it up a few more times/forget it to finally get it right! at least joe helps with his insistence that people get it right :)
    that’s why when i go to india, i’m so relieved that i only have to same my name once!
    And i’ve finally grown to love my curly hair too, as a sidenote :)

    Amrita

    December 23, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    • I love your hair curly! It’s so pretty! Silly beauty standards making people straighten their hair. Not that there’s anything wrong with straight hair, but I don’t see why everyone needs to have it/want it.

      It took me forever before I realized I was saying your name wrong! I think it wasn’t until May when Ahmet was asking me how to properly say your name and gave me two options and I was like, Wait, people are saying it two different ways?! I could be saying her name wrong?! But since I’ve been corrected, I’ve stuck with the right way. I’m usually pretty good about listening for the right pronunciation but somehow I just completely missed that yours differed from how it was spelled.
      I really like your name though! It’s soft.

      Aba

      December 23, 2010 at 4:33 pm

      • thanks! i’ve heard my name pronounced at least 4 different ways. even some Indians, depending on the part of India they’re from have certain accents and they say it wrong… like “amrootha”.
        jess still can’t seem to say or spell my name right, heh.

        Amrita

        December 24, 2010 at 9:10 pm

        • Haha, sometimes it’s just beyond the point of correction and there’s nothing you can do. There’s quite a few variations of how people say my name, but I’m so used to it (and the variations are subtle enough) that I only notice it if I look for it.

          Aba

          December 25, 2010 at 4:12 pm

  2. Aba is pretty :)
    My parents named me catherine, and that’s what i went by until college when my best friend started calling me cate. i used to hate the name catherine, but i kind of love it now and regret shortening it. I’ll definitely go by catherine professionally.

    cate

    December 23, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    • Thank you! :)

      And the name Catherine is lovely! I know lots of people who go by the nickname but not many who go by the full name.

      Aba

      December 23, 2010 at 4:26 pm

  3. Great story (and a great name)!

    Bob D.

    December 23, 2010 at 9:28 pm

  4. I love your story! I think Aba is a great name, and I’m glad you’ve come to like it. <3
    Thanks for sharing!

    Amy Rene

    December 24, 2010 at 10:07 am

    • Thank you! I’m glad I came to like it too, because I don’t think I could ever have thought of a new name for myself!

      Aba

      December 24, 2010 at 10:21 am


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