I still remember my post on the regular headache I had to bear mostly at the coffee shops, how I've had to go for a dubiously generic English name; Suzy. But, I did't tell you about the famous hackneyed Malay name though.
Hayati. That's my mother's name.
I strongly believe that my late grandfather had made the best life decision cum the first responsibility as a newly-titled father when he had to call the iqamat into a pair of little angel's ears; most importantly by not being too excited on the baby's name part. Thank God too unconventional names were't kicked off while having the colonials around them. My late grandfather who I called Tokwan had proven to be a wisely sane man or I couldn't have used Hayati as another camouflage.
Don't get me wrong, people. Not that I'm saying my Abah is crazy but don't you think that he's a wee bit of delusional? Come on, I'm open for criticism. Or, you don't know my name? Here are some beauts to help the grip.
"Hi, what's your name?"
"Hi, I'm Sheriel."
"Share-iel. Sheriel Aizan."
Exhibit No. 2
"Hi, hello! You are Sheriel?"
"Yes, I am."
"Nice nick. What's the real name anyway?"
Exhibit No. 3
"Dear Mr. Sheriel. Thank you for your warm reply on this matter..."
Exhibit No. 4
"You don't look like a Sheriel."
"What do I look like then?"
Exhibit No. 5
"Can you spell your name?"
"Sorry. Can you please repeat?"
These are all the boringly monotonous questions/statements I have been dealing with since I was in school. Unfortunate for me is because it seems ineludible. The name is rare, yes. Too rare that I found it offensive especially having people assuming I'm a dude. To be fair with them too, I don't think it's intentional. The problem is the name, not them.
I once questioned Abah, "Kenapa Sheriel? Abah tahu tak nama tu orang susah nak sebut, nak eja. Ada orang fikir Angah ni jantan." He didn't give me the answer but he laughed. Later I found out that his biggest crush when he was young was a singer, named Sheril Aida. Hence, my eldest sister was named Sheriel Aida. He wanted all the kids' names to be homogenous made all of us are Sheriel sisters (except my brother because that would be surreal).
Almost 26 years until now I've been living with 'Sheriel Aizan' and during the tootle, I couldn't help but to consider changing my name.
"Kau gila? Ke mabuk?"
"I don't like my name."
"Tak ada maksud."
According to this friend, all names shall have their meaning in whatever languages all around the world. It doesn't have to specifically be an Arabic definition, could be French?
So here's another story. My cousin is married to a French guy from Lyon. The moment he arrived at my house, we exchanged smiles and I greeted him, "Bonjour". He laughed. My uncle then introduced us, "These are the Sheriels". Which he replied,
We were surprised to know that Sheriel in French (not the same spelling of course) is derived from the word "love" so it can associate with "lovable", "beloved" and "loving". I wonder whether he was saying that to win our hearts or it did actually come with honesty but who cares. *laugh
Sometimes though, I stared at the mirror, looking at my face but couldn't find the resemblance of "Sheriel" at it. It sounds complicated, I know. During that sometimes, I was taken aback to reflect myself how a name can bring you a lot of responsibilities to present yourself in what you're supposed to be presented. Sheriel for me is a heavy name ever since I knew its meaning which at every circumstance and chance I can react, I have to act with modesty and loving ways.
It was a lot of hassles to begin with at several points I felt that I tried too hard just to fake everything inside me; so unnatural but by force. Since "love" by its definition is hardly to be expressed by tongue, my thought on Sheriel is a diversity to all the beautiful feelings that everyone wants to fall for it. Physically, I think 'it' requires monetary involvement which I don't think relevantly accommodative at the moment.
So I went with the character maturation. An arduous effort I have to say but my name has been helping me a lot to go through life. For that reason, I have to appreciate what has been given to me as simple as it is, I am fortunate having Sheriel in me.
Every time I wanted to throw tantrum, 'Sheriel' would save me.
Every time I lost courage, 'Sheriel' would ask me to stay.
Every time I let the negativity inside me, 'Sheriel' would object.
Every time I didn't believe, 'Sheriel' would insist.
And every time I felt like hating myself for not being able to be a Sheriel, the 'Sheriel' in me told that it's been there since I was Day 1 and will continue be until God knows when.
Hi, everyone. I am Sheriel Aizan. You can call me Sheriel and I love my name.