Thursday, 14 November 2013

What's In A Name?

*chants, "Goosbraba", and rubs earlobes* 

I’m ANNOYED because someone misspelt my name, yet again! I HATE that some people leave out the “R” in Garvin, or else, add letters to my first name, and come up with “Garving”. Like, seriously, what’s a “Garving”? And don’t get me started on those who spell my surname P-A-R-S-O-N! Ugh! Helloooo, there’s supposed to be a big ole “S” at the end! Unless it’s “Garvs” or “Gobin” or "Garvos" or “Fari”, whenever I see those other travesties done to my name on Facebook, security logs, or in emails, I just want to punch someone in their trachea. 

Before you think me ridiculous, maybe I should explain why I feel so strongly, and I suppose, violent about all this. It’s simple actually; I believe that names are important for they are part of someone’s identity.

Now, because I feel this way about names, I tend to try my very best to spell people’s names correctly. This extends to placing the correct title in front of someone's name. So, I’ll ask a question, do a Google search, and look on Facebook, etc. I do this because I believe that I am respecting this person's identity; you know, who they are, all that they have achieved, their history, etc. Quite frankly, when I see my name misspelt, I feel disrespected. I can't help but think that I'm not worth the two seconds it would take to ask a question, or proofread what you wrote. I mean, I don't expect you to go as far as I do and search on Google, but you could at least pay attention to my email signature, or my name as it appears on my profile and at the top of the message pane on Facebook chat.

I was named, Garvin, after my grandfather, who died one year before I was born. Tafari is my African name, given to me by my father. It could mean, either “The Chosen One” or "He Who Inspires Awe", and it was the birth name of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia, KING of Kings, LORD of lords, Conquering Lion of Judah, Defender of the Judean Faith, The Light of the World (he was born Tafari Makonnen Woldemikael, FYI). Lastly, there are only a couple of people in Trinidad with the surname “Parsons”, which makes it one of a kind, to a certain extent. All this has made me VERY PROUD of my name; it’s unique in some aspects, it has history, it links me to the grandfather I never knew, and it has a powerful meaning. In short, my name is important, to me.

This brings me back to my initial point about your name being your identity, in this case, MY identity. Knowing what my name means and where it comes from has shaped the person that I am, as much as, or maybe, more than, any experience that I've had. This feeling has manifested itself in several ways. Aside from becoming “irrationally” upset when I see my name misspelt, I've come to write my full name on anything from forms to my Facebook profile. I, also, start by introducing myself with the words “I am” instead of “My name is”, which says a lot.

Whew! It feels great to have gotten all that off my chest. Writing this post has served to remind me why I get the way that I do. What's more is that I'm going to continue demanding that people get it right in the most polite way possible. For future reference, I AM GARVIN TAFARI PARSONS!

Until the next post!