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Culture

Why I Started Wearing a Name Necklace from My Childhood Jewelry Box

When I was younger I used to hate my name, and I didn’t know why. Now I understand that it was because it felt like a burden to those who couldn’t pronounce it.

Thank you mom and dad, specifically mom for giving me a name that is so hard for most to pronounce –a name that’s usually an ice-breaker in conversations. “What a beautiful name!” “What’s your nationality?” I appreciate the compliments. But it’s also a little exhausting to have this conversation every time and to think about how confusing is to be both Krishna and “Krisna” —the way my name is actually supposed to be pronounced in Spanish.

I grew up in Mexico for the first four years of my life. My mom, a sole Spanish-speaker, once read the name “Krishna” in a book. Krishna is the name of a Hindu god. Since in Spanish the letter “H” is silent, my name is actually pronounced “Krisna.” Most who know me don’t know this.

When I was about 5 and I started school in the U.S., my White teacher very matter-of-factly decided to pronounce my name in English as “Krishna.” Being 5, I don’t really remember what it felt like to start having two different names—one at home and one at school. My entire family still calls me “Krisna.” All my friends and colleagues call me Krishna. I’ve mostly adapted to it, but I have always struggled with it.

Sometimes, when I have the energy, I like to explain the duality of my name to people and they’ll ask me—“What pronunciation do you prefer?” My answer is always the Spanish pronunciation –“Krisna.” That’s who I was born and raised as and that’s who I most identify with. But a lot of people can’t pronounce it, so I’ve always given in to what makes others most comfortable. This is has been hard and I don’t want to do it anymore. Many years later, I still resent my pre-K teacher for not honoring the correct pronunciation of my name, and me being 5 years old, not having the voice to correct her.

Sometimes I think about what I’d name my kids. I want to give them a name that my mami and abuelita can pronounce and one that is difficult to pronounce in English so that I can teach them to embrace it and stand up for it. Because I love my name now. I think it’s beautiful.

 

If you like this article, check out: https://www.harnessmagazine.com/oh-nah-my-queen/

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by krishna

Krishna de la Cruz is a Mexican-American lawyer and writer in Austin, Texas. She grew up on the Texas-Mexico border in Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas and the Rio Grande Valley. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Texas State University and Juris Doctorate from St. Mary’s University School of Law. While in law school, she was Executive Editor of the The Scholar: St. Mary’s Law Review for Race and Social Justice, where her article titled “Exploring the Conflicts within Carceral Feminism: A Call to Revocalize the Women Who Continue to Suffer” was published. The article explores the issues of violence against women of color in the prison system, in immigration detention centers, and at the hands of intimate partners, and she advocates for decriminalizing sex workers and survivors of domestic violence. Her writing is centered on her experiences and those of BIPOC women in her life. She seeks to write stories that inspire other women to write and share their own.

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