My Name

There comes a point in most kid’s lives when they ask their parents about the origin of their name. A name is a very serious issue in a kid’s life. The name cant be too strange sounding, but it also can not be too common. Kids are known to make fun of other’s for their names, making up cruel rhymes. On the other hand no kid wants to be a multiple in a class with the same name. I once had a class with 3 Jessica’s, to differentiate between them we had to use their last names initial.

I remember the day when I asked my mom the meaning behind my name. It went something like this….

“Mom why did you name me Tina?”

” I don’t know, your dad and I just really liked it”

(I was disappointed with this answer so I pushed further).

” Why did you like it? Was I named after anyone?  Does it have a meaning?”

(My mom thought for a bit and then smiled)

” You were named after Tina Turner”

Tina Turner

(Yes Tina Turner the singer! Famous in the 80’s for her hit song “Rolling down the River”)

Four letters! No ancient history! No biblical reference! Not a family name! Tina is a name derived from another name, Christina. Tina is usually a nick name or a shortened version of a longer name.

At the time I was so disappointed in the explanation behind my name. A singer! I know I was the fifth child out of eight kids but I still wanted a name with meaning. I was a kid and the thought of being named after some singer was a bit disappointing. Especially because Tina Turner was my parent’s music.

From a young age I was quite dramatic. I used to spend hours pretending to be a princess or queen in Renaissance England. Princess Tina, just did not sound right!  I wanted a long historical name, like Elizabeth, Alexandria, or Guinevere.

I am embarrassed to even say this now, but I used to lie as a kid. I told everyone my name was actually Christina! That Tina was just my nick name. I don’t know why this issue was so important to me?!  I think I just wanted to feel special. To have some larger meaning.

I don’t know exactly when I started to appreciate my name, I think sometime in my teens. I realized the benefit of having a short name that everyone can spell and pronounce. I was always the only Tina in a class. I have met a few other people of the same name but most of those people only have Tina as a nickname. Even Tina Turner, the Tina I was named after, was not named Tina at Birth. Tina is her stage name, her real name is Anna Mae Bullock. People actually chose to have my name. It must be pretty special.

As I went to college and started to travel, and then married my Indian husband I soon realized that I may have been destined for this name!

I loved being a Tia in Peru

Tina is universal. I have never met a person that could not pronounce it. That is not the case for many names.  When I traveled to Peru during college and worked at an orphanage my name was easily said by everyone. The kids there called me Tia (aunt ) Tina. It was also funny because in Peru the word for basin is la tina. So the kids all thought it was funny when I would be washing their clothes in the basin! Tia Tina washing clothes in la tina. They all got a good laugh out of that one.

In India, Tina is a common nick name. When I married my husband and then traveled to India I never had an issue with people not being able to say my name. Indians would actually say, “oh your name is Indian” and then they would smile. Having a name that is used in so many different countries makes me so happy. I can relate to all cultures, even if it is just a name..

I believe that everyone has a path in life and are blessed with skills and attributes that help them on their journey in life. I honestly believe that my purpose in life is to be a ambassador among people. To meet new people and break down cultural barriers. To travel and better understand the people and the world.

My name allows me to stand out in a crowd as well.  I don’t like to blend in! In a class I always want the professor to know my name. I have made up little ways for people to remember my name. I would introduce myself, “Hi my name is Tina, T is for talkative, so just remember talkative Tina”. They always laugh and no one ever forgets my name.

As a kid I was silly! I did not see the beauty in the name my parents gave me. My name may be short, but it has given me a voice around the world. It has united me as well as set me apart. I have realized that my name does not need to have a historical meaning. I give my name that meaning! .


13 thoughts on “My Name

  1. It’s nice that you came to terms and learned to appreciate your name. For me, it was and still is challenging.
    My name Mani is short for my name Manija. Either way it is often mispronounced. In the U.S. they pronounce it like Manny, which is wrong and I often have to correct people. And the “j” in Manija is often mispronounced in Spanish speaking countries (where I’m from) because the “j” sound is different. Although I am from Mexico, my name is Indian and I live in the US. However, although challenging, in the end I can’t picture myself having a different name and I like its uniqueness. It’s also a good conversation starter hehe. I do like my name.

  2. 🙂 beautiful post it is.
    You reminded me of all those stories I made up with my name and the add on I attached to my name to make it attractive. I think I understand the silliness of childhood when it comes to our names. 🙂

  3. When I was a kid, I questioned my parents decision to name me Cynthia, they didn’t name me after anyone, they just wanted a name that was easy to pronounce in most languages and had an international sound. They had no idea I would one day move to India where they can pronounce it of course, but not write it LOL.
    I hated my name as a kid, because…all the souvenir Junk in those touristy spots in France and Switzerland did not carry my name, I was the crappy keychain club pariah :-p
    But I grew to like it as I grew, because it was not a common name and I felt quite unique and special.

      • When I was growing up the most popular girl names were Nathalie, Stephanie, Melissa, and Melanie. That was in the French speaking part of the country, the Swiss German name I heard the most were Anna, Petra, and Clara.

        I had two Nathalie in my class alone, and they hated having to use their last name initials to take them apart.

        The irony is that my daughter, Ishita was in a class with another Ishita until last year at which point the teacher split them up because they were only sticking together. I and the other Ishita’s mom were also happy to hear about the split because these two took on calling each other exclusively by their last names. Now that other girl moved to another town. Neither me and my husband nor did my friend thought Ishita was a common name in India when we chose it, but apparently if it isn’t popular yet, it is making a comeback.

  4. Pingback: Whats in a Name?: Foreign Name Prejudice and Hiring | My Masala Life

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