My name is Oluwakanyinsola. Sometimes I forget that, because I don’t use and see it nearly as often as I should. And now, when people tell me to say my name aloud, it sounds foreign and different. I was always proud of how long it was, I’d always thought it was musical. It only recently became exotic.
In English, Oluwakanyinsola means “God dropped honey into my wealth.” And Kanyin, the shortened version I go by, means “to drop honey.” I like to tell people my name means “to drop honey,” so that I don’t make them uncomfortable with talk of God and of wealth. I myself am uncomfortable with talk of God and of wealth. I say it means “dropping honey” so that they will think that I am sweet. And I am sweet, palatable. I shapeshift to fit each person’s needs, though I wish I were harsher, bitter.
They say my name is poetic. When my father named me, he wasn’t trying to be poetic. He’d named me after someone he admired. Mr. Kanyinsola had been a few years older than him in secondary school and is now one of the most respected lawyers in Nigeria. I often wonder what qualities this lawyer possessed that he wanted me to have. In some ways, he was predicting my future. I had made the mistake of telling my parents I wanted to be a lawyer when I was ten years old. My mother knows now that I have no intentions of going to law school. I have yet to tell my father.
Mr. Kanyinsola is also a professor, so maybe my father will understand why I want to spend the rest of my life teaching and writing about literature. I worry that I am too eccentric for my family sometimes. I worry that the narratives I have constructed about myself are simply untrue and even baseless. What am I, the child of scientists who themselves are children of farmers, doing in literature? Law was already a stretch, but literature? Neither of my parents is ostensibly creative, what makes me think that I am any different? I worry that I am moving further and further away from my truth and my family. I worry that I am no longer their drop of honey.
I am uncomfortable with talk of God, with talk of wealth, and now with talk of sweetness.
Post submitted by Kanyin