I have never been very fond of my name for a variety of reasons. I hate it. It’s always felt like this baggage that I have to carry with me and can’t let go of.
It is reminiscent of the baggage that I carried with me when I hated my body. It’s very similar. We sometimes define ourselves by how we look and we also define ourselves by what we are called.
I hate my name because I feel like it has always been something that separates me from everyone else.
It has caused a lot of resentment towards my mother, if you can believe such a thing. Sit back and I will tell you the story of why.
I was my mother’s first child. My mother, who is white, was dating my father, who was black when I was conceived (This ends the part my bio-dad plays in this story). By the time I was born, she had broken up with him and had already married someone else, who was also white.
I was named Dominee Rochelle Malina Wyrick.
I was raised as his child, along with my sister and brother who came after me.
The rumor is that my father didn’t even realize that I wasn’t his biological child until I was older. I don’t know how true that is because it’s not a topic that I ever bring up with my family. I was told that I was not his biological daughter when I was around the age of seven, my mom said I cried a lot that day.
It was when I began to feel like the Other.
My whole entire family was white and I was not. I often felt like I didn’t belong. I remember telling other children on the playground that I had spent too much time in the sun and that was why I wasn’t white like my sister. It always felt like something I should be ashamed about. I would never look the same and I felt like my last name was a lie, a name that did not really belong to me.
My sister was named Rachel Ellen after our Grandmother and Great Grandmother and my brother was named James Preston, after his father and Grandfather. I was named weird ol’ Dominee, a name that had no ties to my history or heritage. A name that didn’t fit in with the simplistic traditional names of my siblings. Mine was a name that everyone always got wrong, and after awhile it just seemed to reflect everything about me. My name was wrong, my skin color was wrong, my hair texture was wrong, and all I ever wanted was to fit in.
My name was a personification of the things that held me apart from everyone else.
Once I got online I never used my real name. I went by my middle name, Malina. I went by Talya, one of my favorite book characters, Ephiny (from Xena), MuddledClarity, anything but my own name.
That is until I made this blog. I decided that I didn’t want to hide behind a name that wasn’t me. I didn’t want to be anyone other than who I am, right down to my funky name, my stretch marks, and depression. It’s who I am and I didn’t want to hide anymore.
I also learned what my name meant.
dominee (in South Africa) a clergyman; especially a settled minister or parson. A spiritual leader of the Christian Church.
I don’t think that I would be the same person if I had a different name. However, finding love for myself has allowed me to love my name, and to love my body, and to love those things about myself that were different or unwanted or strange.
That is what my name has taught me.