Wednesday, 2 March 2011

You can call me Rohima

Sometimes Shaune calls Deaglan Stan or John James McGillicuddy just to get a reaction. Our boy is usually quite adamant that his name is Deaglan William McNamara. At three, his name is already integral to his self concept; who he feels he is.

In university I had a few friends who would only call me Rohima. It was a time of  intense scrutiny for me. Of who I was and who I wanted to be. Remember that time? Freedom from home. The feeling that you could rewrite the rules, that anything was possible. Back then I had a nose ring and only wore Doc Martens.

I seriously considered changing my name.
I didn't though. I had already been Kim for too long. Besides that it would have been a pain in the ass, I wasn't sure I could live up to it's exotic sounding ring. 

Rohima. It was who I was for the first seven years of my life. When I called Cobu mother and Esupe father. A time when I only knew god as Allah. A time when I owned no shoes in a place where the sun  burned hotter, where the ocean and the government posed a threat. And there was never enough to eat.

I was Rohima in a place where children starve. Where women bear the brunt but men have the power. Where to disagree with men and the government can get you killed. In this place I was Rohima.

No I didn't change my name.

But I do think about that seven year-old girl once in a while. New to Canada. No English on her lips.  A small girl who had lost so much of who she thought she was. Cobu, Esupe, Allah. How must she have felt when she was no longer called Rohima?  When they began to call her Kim, did she insist she was Rohima?

I'm pouring my heart out with Shell.


  1. I have said this before...I absolutley love your writing. You leave me wanting more each time. Thank you for pouring your heart out.

  2. HI Kim

    I agree with this post and feeling of yours. There is just so much hidden within us, doesn't it? Back in college I was just so cool, so wild, and so so bold. Bolder than even the boys. How we change and the journey to become our true self... it is just amazing. Some parts of lives, they however stick with us. They are like our strength which comes at unknown times.

    That picture of Naveen is just beyond adorable.

  3. I'm sure the alter ego is still in there. I wanted to change my name to Josette for a while. Looking back, that would have been easier on me than Joey!

  4. Wow, you really went through a lot!

    A name is our identity. My oldest changed his name when he was 3 and will NOT answer to anything else. It is who he is. Since it's a form of his name, we have gone along with it, but you should see how he gets MAD when someone uses his given name.

    Btw, your link on the linky goes back to my blog, so I linked up this post instead- so if you see yourself further down the linky than you were- that's why. :)

  5. I love how you spill your guts on this blog. It's so raw and honest. I believe in the power of names. What you go by and what people call you can be two different things, but it's what you answer to that counts.

  6. What an incredible post today!
    What's in a name? In your case-an amazing and very humbling story. Thanks for sharing it, my friend:)

  7. Wendy - thank you for your support - you always say the nicest things about my writing!

    Ratz, he's just as cute in real life which makes it hard to hold a grudge!

    Joey - then they'd call you Josie. I like Joey

    Shell - love that your son changed his name

    Teresha - I've been told over and over that I'm honest on this blog - just trying to live up to it:)

    Valerie - thanks for reading!

  8. Beautiful post. Who do you feel you are?

  9. This is just beautiful. Our identities are so complex...or at least we believe that they are, at times. Thank you for sharing your heart with all of us.

  10. This is just beautiful. I'll call you whatever you want but regardless, you are just amazing and you've just turned into a beautiful woman inside and out. Thank you for pouring out your heart.

  11. what a beautiful part of your story to share with us on things i cant say linkup day. Im so glad to meet you and hear your heart today!

  12. Wow...fabulous writing and sharing my friend.

  13. You are a writer who MUST share your genuinely pure voice with all. As I read this, I felt like Rohima is getting her voice, her life through the words and thoughts of Kim. She is here with you. You're amazing.

  14. Wow...what an incredible story you have to tell.


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