Jinyung Suh // MY NAME, MY IDENTITY

Every year when school begins, there is a familiar process of attendance. With attendance comes another familiar process of having to prepare myself for my name to be mispronounced. The annual process of waiting for the room to suddenly erupt in little snickers and giggles here and there, laughing at how the teacher just read my non-American, Korean name out loud. The familiar phrase of “If I pronounce your name incorrectly, please feel free to tell me how to say it” always feels as though it was directly towards me. There are many times at night when I lay in bed and look up at the ceiling, thinking, “What if I had an American name? Maybe Jessica? Maybe Emily? My life would probably be easier.” People always tell me that I should like my name because it makes me stand out. They tell me it’s beautiful and represents my culture. However each time, I always reply saying, “I don’t like standing out, and it is not beautiful.” It sounds like two stiff syllables in my ears and I hate having to introduce myself to people I meet for the first time, as most people repeatedly say my name incorrectly. I know that I shouldn’t be embarrassed of my name. It identifies who I am.

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