Never cared THAT much about my name

Never cared THAT much about my name. In Kindergarten, as legend goes, I corrected the teacher when she tried to call me “Kenneth”. I said, “My name not Kenneth – my name Kenny”, so the story goes.

I was usually Keith or Kevin and I got used to it, just rolling my eyes. Sometimes I corrected them on the spot, sometimes I just answered.

Mom married an Egyptian man when I was 12. I was going to take his last name – Bekheet. Practiced signature and all. But my sister kiaboshed the marriage and in two years he was gone.

She has his last name to this day. Loves making all the round loops when when signs her name.

Never cared for nicknames and never understood them. I don’t assign them to people and just roll my eyes when someone tries to stick a nickname on me.

My usual name is :: grunt :: or “hey!”.

Yet, I feel special when I’m addressed by name, especially in writing or video.

“Hey Kenneth, thanks for the …”
“My friend Ken, he…”

This puts a special smile on me that starts in my chest and radiates upwards to my face.

It could’ve been Matthew. That was mom’s first choice but she was laid up when the birth certificate came around. She saw Kenneth and was like, “ok, that’s fine”.

And, that’s how I feel about my name.


Addendum: Kenneth is more commonly a black boy’s name, or was when I was growing up. So, in that, I always felt a strong affinity for issues relating to black boys and men.

Hadn’t thought about that ’til now. Good cathartic.


I can’t even put to words how much I love this response. Lol.
…I think it’s because you’ve hit upon the element which matters most – who you ARE, not what your name is. And yet, that being addressed as an individual is important. I know exactly what you mean about those feelings, of swelling up from the affection of being recognized. Not in the sense of public attention being drawn to me, but when I am acknowledged as an individual, it makes me feel good. Like I matter to that person. And on the flip side, how bad it feels to be dismissed, or treated as unimportant. Like not a person at all.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

six − 1 =

Leave a Reply