What we are named is a very important thing. Our inoa (name), is the thing that tells people who we are, and lots of us have the audacity to even make fun of someone’s name because we can’t say it correctly.
My opening paragraph, up there above the picture of this mother holding her newborn child might well be a little misleading in that, folks who read it may well be under the impression that this writing is about my correcting anyone at all for not being able to pronounce anyone else’s name correctly.
I get it…it would not be the first and neither the only time that people have, not out of anything other than not being able to pronounce Hawai’ian names the right way, stated or pronounced my Hawai’ian name incorrectly.
I used to get upset because I know and have always known the importance of names. Yet, these days, I tend to take it as an opportunity to teach someone a bit about my Hawai’ian culture. That I would teach them what I do is one thing, and the truth is that most folks are happy to know how to say it right because really, how foolish does one need to be in not wanting to learn to pronounce something correctly, and more, how lazy is a person for real when they state that they think it is funnier to say it the way that they CAN say it?
However, it will be through this teaching on this day that I write The Mana’o Blog that I will have much to say about, not THAT anyone would prefer to NOT learn to say ANYONE else’s name the right way, but more, the reasons …actually the excuses…as to why it is that some folks flatly REFUSE to say it right.
I would like to know when it was that anyone had the right to at least not try to state a person’s name the right way. When we fail to try is when we fail, period. When we prefer, because of something that is within us and NOT within the other person, to NOT learn something at all and we prefer to make light of our laziness.
It irks the hell out of me, in fact, that people have the attitude that it is somehow funny that THEY cannot say someone else’s name correctly…it is like they have little, if any, respect for someone else and who they are.
Respect for someone else and who they are
First off, my only thought there is that we live in a terribly belittling, terribly, terribly arrogant, egotistical world, and when we would rather save face by NOT learning to say someone else’s name the right way, it is immediately that we are showing that other person some of the worst kind of disrespect that we have bothered to make a joke out of.
This is not my saying that every person who cannot say another person’s name the right way is doing it purposely to get a rise out of them, to make the other person feel like they have been belittled in any manner, or anything at all like that to those people who bother to at least say that they can’t say it correctly is something that lots of us do. It shows people that we are vulnerable when we admit that we are not able to do something and that maybe it is not such a bad thing that we can’t.
It becomes a bad thing only when we won’t.
When we won’t think about the other person and about how what we are NOT bothering to do, we are also showing everyone around that person that we have NO respect for how another person feels about what they have been called all of their lives.
When I was a kid, I was called a lot of different nicknames, and all of them were given to me and spoken out of love. It was nothing to me that I was called “Mop” (and by at least three people am still referred to as such), and nothing to me, even now, to be called “Mapu,” (and really, in my ancestral language, “Mapu” means primate or ape…and who is really gonna argue with an ape?) or “ROX,” (hell, even I call me that), “Roxie,” and in one (and ONLY one) person’s awareness, I am simply “Pineapple,” and to lots and lots of people, hell yeah – “Mapuana,” and in the times that I have to talk to people who I don’t know and who don’t know me, of course, it is “Roxanne.”
I answer to them all.
I always have, because I know that the word, the name, itself, is always surrounded by other words (the context) which will always tell the truth of how my name(s) is being delivered and with and through what kind of energy it is being done with.
It is when the energy that is there and that is hurtful and somewhat even demeaning that people are not realizing they are doing when they refuse to say another person’s name, or at least give the effort of doing so, correctly.
When we think that making fun of how someone else has been named is okay because that is just how we roll, and we do not think about how it might feel for us to have to deal with that same thing, that same energy, we are at that moment being a giant asshole (and…duh…creating the Karma that is NEEDED for said same such asshole to have endure that which he or she puts others through, just for the fun of it…jerks).
I say so because it has been done to me for a long time, the idea that, up until recently, when I finally decided to no longer hang with people who would cut my soul down to as minimal size as they could through the misuse of my name, all because they had little or no respect for the FACT that what they were doing to me was taking away the entirety of my identity.
The Entirety of One’s Identity
Here is where it should become apparent to anyone who has ever bullied someone else about, of all things, the name that they were given at the time of their birth – our name matters.
Our name matters so much that when we come to terms with the idea that we are apart from our birth mother, it is our name, NOT our mom, which identifies us.
Our name identifies us.
Our name is carried with us throughout our lives, and we die as the person who was that name. We are remembered by our name, and when it is that our name is disrespected, so, too, are we. It bothers a lot of people when any part of the name they carry at this time in their lives is not said the right way. It is not an ego thing, and it is not a control thing – it is a human being thing, and it is real. I am taken back to the time in my life when I was thought as someone else’s property, when it was that my name did not matter, or worse, when my name was equated with being less than anyone else. Some folks like to believe that it doesn’t matter to another person when someone, anyone, else says someone’s name wrong. It is like calling them a name that is a derivative of their actual given birth name, and not asking them if it is cool to call them by that nickname that might or might not be something that the person being called that likes.
We are not taught about what other people like, and when we are taught respect, it is when we are kids, and it is for the most part NOT respect we are taught, at least not the real kind, but respect through fear of losing something, mostly the idea of Love that our parents and others in our lives when we are children teach us through their showing us. When I was a child, and I heard the phrase “DAMMIT MAPUANA!” I knew, through whoever it was that said it, what kind of trouble I might have been in.
It could have been that I might have blurted something out that I might have had the thought in my little head to say nothing at all, or it could have been the idea that I was taught to be or at least to pretend that I was better than others , by a group of people who, for the most part, DO NOT, even now, truly know what is respect out of love and deserving the level they expect, or, the sort that is placed by fear. Either way, it shows a whole lot to others when we are choosing to disrespect them constantly by constantly NOT learning to say someone’s name the right way.
And I maintain, still, and I will always maintain, that our given name at birth is a BIG FAT GIANT FREAKIN’ DEAL ! When we are respected by others we end up choosing to be with them because respect is Love of the highest and purest form, even when it is for others who we do not personally know.
The way that other people choose to be with others.
We are not who has the power and neither the right to make other people behave like good human beings, and it is not up to us to make them see things in terms of where we are coming from unless those other people are somehow that much of an important part of our lives.
I know which people in my life mean well when it is that they are not able to pronounce things, and I also know that no one likes to be corrected, but who really needs correcting are those who go about the crust of the planet not realizing that their not respecting, as much as they can, even if that means that they admit that they have a hard time pronouncing anything, but particularly a person’s name, and believe that it is no big deal and that it is okay that they mar someone else like this.
To some folks what I am saying here might seem like I am making a big deal out of nothing, but the fact of the matter is that we are, each and every one of us, irritated by it when someone else not only doesn’t say our name right, but then, because they are too lazy or too arrogant to admit they have a hard time, refuses to not harm someone else through means of ignorance.
Our name is a big deal.
In matters of the soul, our names are not a mistake.
Your name is the thing that people know you by. It is the thing that you are addressed as and is totally every part of who you are that is presented to others. We are judged by our names, whether we like it or not. I often times will tell other Hawai’ian parents that, even as it is a nice thought to want to name their children with a first Hawai’ian name, that I get it in terms of wanting to show your pride, that it is a good idea to remember, namely if they have this child here on the mainland, that not every person will be able to pronounce it.
That is about the same time that I am called a traitor, or a very damaged Hawai’ian. It is not until I tell them my reasoning for saying such a thing that they understand that our given name is a very vitally important part of who we are, even if, when we are older and for professional reasons, we use another name. What lots of people don’t realize is that famous people change their names for professional reasons, but almost ALL of them are called by their given name by the people who are closest to them.
We all have a reason for doing the things, saying the things, being the way that we have the tendency towards being. This is not my telling anyone to be a pansy ass – this is my telling people to be mindful of how we treat others, period. Place yourself in the shoes you wore when someone tried saying your name, and if it were an easy name to pronounce, butchered it on purpose. How did it make you feel and how did it make you feel about them as a human being? (Probably not that great)
Think of the last time someone knew the correct way to say your name, and how it made you feel when they flat out refused to. Think of how insignificant it made you feel the last time your boss got your name wrong. Think about every time it was that someone who you would have liked to know a little bit better did not remember your name and think about how personally wounded you were when it was that they’d laughed about it, as though somehow, not recalling the one thing that identifies you with who you are and more, who your soul tribe identifies you with was somehow not such an important thing.
Whether you want to believe so or not, our names and the use of them are indeed a soul thing.
It is a soul thing to know who you are, to live up to that measure of energy, no matter what it is that we think of anyone else or who they are. Whether you want to accept it or not, our name is something that is either music to our ears, or, when someone says it wrong, namely wrong on purpose (because you know, they’re just playing…are they really? Think about it), the worst thing to hear coming from certain others.
Think about how much any new parent to be goes through in determining exactly what name they will give their child, and then think about how much having that name will mean to a child when they hear it. Think about what certain names have given you in terms of energy, and think about how you feel when you hear the name of someone who is near and dear to you. I know that when I hear my name, any of the names that I am referred to as, and particularly one name and by one person, it is truly music to my ears.
It is the same way for any and all of us, the idea that our name is very important. When we address people who we do not know anything more about than their first name, and we do not pronounce it correctly, and we acknowledge so, it is out of respect for them, out of respect for the idea that we do not know who they are, even as our souls may well know all other souls. When our name is pronounced incorrectly is one thing, but when it is done so because someone, anyone else at all has the very nerve to disrespect us because THEY are too lazy to make the effort to at least acknowledge that it is not that our name is too difficult, but that they are too damned lazy to learn it, it is not our turn to do more than one thing…and it is the hardest thing to do…
…that one thing is simply just not give a damn.
Why should we ever make the effort to validate someone else being less than good to a person, validate their energy that says it is okay to remain unpolished, remain … at the low level they are at? There is nothing stated anywhere, no rule, no law, that says that anyone has to say our name correctly.
There is also no law stating, no rules stating that we have to be ass hurt by their inability to try harder to raise their level of being a stand up, let alone stand alone person, if for no one else than their own sorry ass lazy selves.
Other people are not wrong for not being able to say anyone else’s name correctly. Most folks will acknowledge that they don’t think they pronounce the one thing that makes it clear to the rest of the world that “hear I am…love me or don’t…this is me and I was put here in this awareness because I am this me…” in the manner that said name is given to any one of us.
Then there are the others…you know who they are…
They are the ones pointing out one person’s toilet paper stuck to the bottom of said person’s shoes, all whist ignoring the protective toilet seat liner they’d used at the gas station and that is now, unbeknownst to them, hanging off of the back of their pants and waving at the world, letting the world know where the last place was that they’d been…
teehee…I Love You All !
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