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Tichaona M Chinyelu

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Member Since: Jun, 2005

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The Apple Tree Blossoms in the Fall
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In The Apple Tree Blossoms in the Fall, Carineh narrates stories of her life in an Iran before Ayatollah’s time. She also recounts tales about her new life in Europe and ..  
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Blogs by Tichaona M Chinyelu

A Rose by any Other Name
7/6/2010 1:20:36 PM
I do not possess the name I was given at birth.

Reposted from contrabandmarriage.wordpress.com

Recently, I came across a site called NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). I was immediately inspired by the suggestion for today’s blog post: How Do You Feel About the Name given to you at birth?

I do not possess the name I was given at birth. We parted ways, legally, over a decade ago. Since assuming my true name my life has changed in fundamental ways. I have gotten married and divorced. I had a child and he’ll be entering first grade in September. I have written and published three books. I have published the work of three other authors. However, the change that underlines and informs all other changes is that I am more myself.

My mother let my father name me and he named me according to naming practices which also decided his name. I was the first daughter of my mother so my name was ordained. Apparently, it wasn't significant that my dad had two older daughters; one of whom happened to be the first daughter of her mother. Therefore she and I shared the same name. With the hindsight of 20/20, it seemed as if I was designed to fit into a construct; one which didn’t fit. As a result, I was Toby with his foot cut off, not Kunta who had a penchant for running from slavery.

When I learned about freedom, I wanted to be free and freedom meant a new name. Frederick Douglass, not Frederick Bailey. Harriet Tubman, not Araminta Ross. Assata Shakur, not JoAnne Cheismard. In other words, I wanted the freedom that comes with self-naming. However, ironies of ironies, in obtaining that freedom, I became more bound to my family, more my mother’s daughter, more decidedly African than I had been under my birth name. To quote a Bessie Head character, “I [was] just an African”.

 



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More Blogs by Tichaona M Chinyelu
•  A Rose by any Other Name - Tuesday, July 06, 2010  
• This is where I'm at? - Saturday, August 11, 2007
• Harlem Book Fair - Boston - Sunday, July 01, 2007


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