The name on my birth certificate reads Sezin Piotruszewicz Menekshe Rajandran.
I was named with the same initials as my grandfather on my father’s side, SPM Rajandran. He died just months before I was born, and in fact my mom was so upset at his funeral that her amniotic sack tore and she might have lost me all together. Sezin and Menekshe are both Turkish names, although there’s no Turkish anywhere in my lineage.
Growing up, for reasons I still don’t understand, my parents called me by my third name, Menekshe, a name I always hated with a passion. It’s too long, it’s not pronounced how it looks, and it’s a strange one so I would always have to spell it out for people. Oh God. The frustration!
Before I went off to university, to Los Angeles on my own, I had bandied about the idea of starting to use Sezin. On my flight to LA I met a nice hippie fellow and we started chatting. He asked me my name and “Sezin” popped out. That was that. Thirteen years ago and I re-invented myself in my own image.
At first it was strange, there was a curious sense of doubling as I tried to merge my old self as “Menekshe” and the new “Sezin”. Awkward as my family had difficulties adjusting, my friends were uncomfortable in stretching themselves to include this “new” idea of me. It was years before I didn’t get super irritated at someone calling me “Menekshe” accidentally. Now I just get a teensy bit annoyed. 🙂
But that was the only negative of changing my name. Sezin means emotions, sensitivity, and I felt my spirit melding to the new name. “Sezin” also brought me the first nicknames I’d ever had in my life. Z, Zini, Zed, Zuzu, Sez, and more. Having nicknames made me feel wonderful, closer to people somehow, with an easy familiarity. Gone was the uncomfortable spelling out of “Menekshe”, Sezin is 5 letters, no big deal to spell that one.
Dialogue 2010 brought me in contact with Tara Agacayak, who kept her name in spite of converting to Islam. Tara mentioned that of all the things she’d left behind in search of a hybrid lifestyle, the one thing she kept was her name. Me, I’m the opposite. Changing my name was me claiming the rights to myself, deciding how I could make my hybrid life better and easier.
My name has changed once again as I’ve fallen out with my father, totally and completely. Now I’m known as Sezin Koehler and I’m bandying around the idea of keeping my mom’s maiden name (Piotruszewicz). I am also considering scrapping the Piotruszewicz and taking the name Billon in its stead, in honour of my dear friends Aimie and Kristine whose beloved sister was killed by a drunk driver. This would bring Sezin Version 20.10 a beautiful symbolism that I wholeheartedly support, especially since my annihilated relationship with dad has included my two younger sisters. Aimie, Kristine and I can all be three sisters again, even if the relation is in name and spirit only.
What’s in your name?