Dear Teen Me:
Dear Teen Me,
Laxmi, I am here to tell you, it’s perfectly okay to be called by a name no one other than Indians can pronounce. (No, I lie … even Indians outside India stumble over your name … but actually it’s not as bad as you think it is right now).
You tell your parents, lips pursed, that you want to change your name. “I am not Laxmi, I am Teeka you say” and they look at you marveling at the confidence of your five year old self.
You hate your name… you don’t why. You just do.
If only you could be called something like a Tania or Reena or Shama … anything, anything except this horrid, old-fashioned, very traditional Indian name. Laxmi.
But I am here to tell you its okay.
It’s okay that in some cultures the letter ‘x’ doesn’t exist and so you get called Lami, or Lama or Lasmi or “uh?”
It’s really okay, because you will learn to be proud of your name. You will learn to look people in the eye and tell them that you are named after your grandmother, and that you share your name with the Indian Goddess of Wealth & Fortune, and that normally you bring luck to people and places you associate yourself with. At least that’s what people you meet tell you.
And, when you get learn numerology you’ll find out, that actually your full complete unpronounceable name Laxmi Hariharan, which incorporates the blessings two Indian Gods, is actually very, very auspicious, for you. So you know what Laxmi? Fuck ’em.
Fuck those who made fun of your name when you were little.
Fuck those who did not make the effort to pronounce your name correctly.
Fuck especially those who despite being of Indian origin around the world insist on mispronouncing it. It is they who have disowned their culture. Not you.
You will go onto writing novels using your real name. You will put your name with pride to the stories you weave—many of which feature that particular breed of angry young girl heroes you specialize in.
You will stamp your name with defiance to genre bending, YA dystopian novels set in your home city of Bombay.
You will tap into all that angst from your early years to spin white-knuckle ride thrillers.
Along the way you will meet people who love your name. Who recognize, that it is a door to the unique in you.
And you will marry a man who shares his name with one of the thousand that Lord Vishnu—the husband of Goddess Laxmi in Indian mythology—bears.
So you know what? Someone up there knew what she was doing all along.
Now, just take the path the Goddess herself has shown you and empower other young girls. Show them they can break stereotypes every day, just by being themselves.
Article originated on the 'DEAR TEEN ME' website - http://dearteenme.com/?p=9586
About The Author:
A near life incident told Laxmi Hariharan to write. She never stopped. Laxmi is the author of THE MANY LIVES OF RUBY IYER, which debuted #1 Hot New Release Amazon Asian Lit. You can also download the prequel, THE RUBY IYER DIARIES, FREE on Amazon US. She has been a journalist, and a global marketer. Now she is the creator of Ruby Iyer. Find her Twitter | Facebook
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