How many of you would change your name if you had the chance to? A person's name is often the first thing you learn about someone. It is the thing that sets them apart and identifies who they are from everyone else. It is one of the very few things in life that I believe you can trust people to be honest about. However for the past six or so years and the almost two years I have been writing on Albatroz & Co, I have been lying to you all.
I was born and named Nana Ama Fosua Addo on the 27th of September 1997 in Kumasi, Ghana but most people would know and have known me for a long time as Theresa. However Theresa Addo does not exist, and never did. Let me explain.
I moved to Ireland at the age of 9 and started school where Nana was used as my first name. Now aside from the fact that it made me seems like someone's grandmother, I didn't mind so much. You see Nana is more of a title than a name. Most Ghanaian people would have the prefix of Nana as part of their names which translates to King, Queen, Princess or Prince depending on gender and age. It is a nobility more than anything else really. It was not until the ' Nana-Banana' name calling and singing began that I started having a problem with my name. I mean there is only so much Hey Jude and Rihanna's What's My Name a 12 year old can take. Till this day neither songs can be heard without a feeling of mild irritation and disdain trailing behind it. I mean even the teachers were at it too. They found it hilarious and I found it frustrating although I knew it was just in jest.
And so to prevent further name calling and a lifetime of pent-up frustrations I decided to do something about it when I entered secondary school and changed my name altogether. In my 12 year old mind it made more sense to go for a completely new name than you know, just using my 'middle name' Ama, as it would be seen. So I chose Theresa, which
was..is my catholic name and for six years plus, have been known as Theresa by new friends I made at school and outside and teachers. My colleagues at work knew me as Theresa and I even managed to open a bank account in the name Theresa Addo which completely perplexes me because HOOOWW!? It was opened through a school programme but I had assumed they would check all applications with the school data base and would correct it, why I do not know. But now I have a bank account I cannot close because I cannot prove I am Theresa Addo...because I am not! It's all very confusing.
A few months ago before finishing secondary school, I started thinking about changing my name back to..my actual birth name. I, for some reason felt as though I was living someone else's life that wasn't really me. Playing a character than myself. I toyed with the idea of changing it to something wacky like Sunshine for college but then that would be defeating the purpose of actually getting in touch with myself so I took another look at my name. *short break* Yeah I know, this sounds absolutely mental! I shouldn't even be changing my name at all! *end break*
The idea of being called Nana just didn't sit right with me because as far as I am concerned, it is not a name. It'd be like being called Miss all the time. Ama was a name I had always disregarded as unoriginal because of how it came about. In Ghana every day has a boy and girl name and as I was a girl born on Saturday, I was called Ama which I'm not gonna lie, I now think is pretty cool. After all, its not every country that has a naming system for it's people.
Fosua was too hard to pronounce, which you would've figured out if you tried to say it just there. Pronounced Fo-su-ya, it was my grandmother's name on my father's side. And well Addo was my last name. You're probably thinking why doesn't she just use the name she was given? Well I am an awkward individual that is why.
My love for the Italian language and the fact that I am a hopeless romantic would eventually help me decide. In Italian Amare is to love and the word Ama translates to he/she/it loves. So in that sense I felt Ama was perfect and oddly similar to my Chinese name, Tai Ai which means Too Love, loosely translating to Loves Too Much and given to me by a Chinese speaking lady I once met in England. So it is because of it's unique Ghanaian roots and strong romantic connections in the Italian language that I've decided to use the name Ama. Not because it's my actual name or anything.
On my visit to Ghana, I decided to have this shirt made to symbolize and help remind me of my African roots, to accept and cherish them. I also got to design it myself which was pretty cool too. It has been awkward and confusing trying to explain to people why my name is no longer Theresa or why I'd like them to try and call me by a different name because in fairness, it is a little nuts and I get that.
And so I ask you again. If you had they chance to to change your name, would you? And what would you change it to and why? I'd love to know.
Hope you enjoyed reading this crazy post! Till next time my pretties.