Saturday, January 26, 2008

My Somali name

When I was first taking Spanish, we were all given Spanish names, presumably to help us feel more in tune with the language.  (Teachers had a terrible time figuring what to do with my name, because because the time they got to me in the class, Teresa -- which is the closest in sound to Tara -- was already taken by an actual Teresa or Theresa. So I ended up with Donita, Luisa and probably a couple of others I've forgotten over the years.) 

Well, now I'm trying to learn Somali, but I didn't even think about a Somali name for myself (after all, I'm not in junior high anymore) until I learned the name of the daughter of a co-worker. The daughter's name is Beydan. It's an old (pre-Islamic) Somali name meaning 'lioness'. (The male counterpart is Burale.)

When I told my mother about it, she said that if she'd known about that name when I was born, it would have been my name -- and that would have been perfectly OK with me. 

It fits me in so many ways. I very much identify with cats of many kinds, and I will gladly fight to protect my loved ones. 
     So, whenever I go through my Somali lessons -- and probably at a number of other times -- I will think of myself as Beydan, and I will picture the ancient and beautiful Somali lioness of that name.