How are you? I wanted to talk to you about something that might seem silly since this blog is called “AbisolaBlog.” I wanted to talk to you about my name. My name is Abisola. It is pronounced (Abby-saw-lah). It is a Nigerian name from the Yoruba tribe. It means, “Born into wealth.” Names are extremely significant in Nigerian culture. In my tribe (Yoruba), children are not named till the 8th day after birth. Then, there is a traditional naming ceremony in which prayers, and blessed names are given to the child by friends and family. I have always loved my name. So why then for the majority of my life did I go by “Abby.”?
Let me give you a brief story. When I was 4-years-old, I decided to go by Abby because I was going to daycare and people could not pronounce my name. I decided to spell it A-b-b-y because I felt that A-b-i looked weird. I know, big decisions for a four-year-old. Growing up when teachers, substitutes or anyone reading my name would stumble trying to say it, I always raised my hand and gave them the easy alternative, “Abby.”
Fast forward to March of 2017. I had just found out that I got my first internship. In the back of my mind I always knew that I wanted to go by “Abisola” professionally. So, with this in mind, I made a Snapchat story asking everyone if they could please call me by my full name “Abisola”. The response was mainly positive. Most everyone began to call me Abisola. Though there are still some people who call me “Abby”, even though I specifically introduce myself as Abisola. I even changed my Facebook and Instagram names to fit with my new-found identity. I felt like I had “come out” in a sense. So, here are the reasons why I go by Abisola.
I Love Being Unique
Living in America, Abisola is definitely not a common name. When I went by “Abby”, there was always another girl in my class or 10,000 other girls named Abby in my school. “Abisola” sets me apart.
I Love My Culture
As a Nigerian, my name represents so much to me. It is another expression of my heritage. It is the name that was given to me by my parents with prayers, blessings, and cultural ties. I feel empowered and blessed to be authentically Nigerian, with an authentic name.
I Am A Grown Woman
Let’s be real, “Abby” reminds me of a little Caucasian girl’s name. (No offence to anyone). “Abisola” is such a bold and luxurious name. When you hear it, it sounds full and important. It’s like I am stepping into womanhood with this name. “Abby” was who I was as a child. “Abisola” is the new chapter in my life.
I Don’t Want To Be White-Washed
In so many cultures, people change their ethnic names to something more “American”, as a means of assimilation. I have come to say, I’m done with that. I am who I am. I am a Nigerian woman. If anyone doesn’t like that, then that is there own problem. I don’t want to be forced to change who I am to fit white man’s standards. Nigerian actress Uzo Aduba’s mom said it best “If they can learn to say Tchaikovsky and Michelangelo and Dostoyevsky, they can learn to say Uzoamaka.” For me, it is the same concept. Rarely will you ever hear someone complaining about pronouncing a European name. If they can learn to pronounce those kinds of names, they can learn to pronounce, “Abisola.”
Well, those are the main reasons why I go by my full name now. I hope to inspire others to love and appreciate their God-given names. If you have any questions, comments, and concerns, feel free to reach out to me.