Sometimes I consider my father too clingy. It’s in the way he claimed us at birth. Eight days after we were born, daddy etched a part of himself on us. A part we could never erase. That day, at our naming ceremonies, our father named us after himself. We would all grow up to realise that like him, we bear ATSE too; but unlike him, it’s only a part of our names.
Meet my siblings: ATSEmay. roseATSE. ATSEson (of blessed memory). omATS’ola. toritsemATSE. ATSEyemi. ATSEfemi. and ATS’uwademi, my only younger sibling.
I am ATSEtemi, and I’m yet to understand why dad decided to claim us by our names. Sometimes I think it’s fear, fear that his name would be lost when all of his seven daughters get married and decide to take on a new surname. But this is just a thought. I have never bothered to ask the man why he chose to ‘atserize’ our names.
While I honestly can’t make sense of some of my siblings names (because I think dad probably forgot to do product evaluation before mass producing his little Atses, sorry dear siblings), I have grown to adore Atsetemi. My name is a prophecy of things to come, an assurance of what is. It’s the silver lining in a sky that loses its smile, an anchor in turbulent seas.
Atsetemi: mine has been done, it loosely translates.
Was my birth the purveyor of certain miracles daddy sought? I have no idea. By the translation, it feels like whatever was done was my father’s. However, I’m learning to claim this name. All of it. Atsetemi. Mine has been done.
I’m learning to call me by everything my name says I am, all that it says I have. I’m speaking into existence all that is temi (mine), things accomplished by the Almighty before I was formed. Because four syllables with such poignant meaning isn’t too wordy to wear as an identity, I have decided to embrace this name. All of it. Atsetemi. Mine has been done. I believe.
So maybe daddy is clingy. Or scared about fading out of our lives. Maybe my name is his testimony, his rightful claim. Or this is just maybes. Whatever it is, I’m thankful for this name that holds me through mad waves, and helps steady my head through life’s journey. I’m owning it as a significant part of my life- my own unique story.
Atsetemi: Mine has been done.
I echo the truth spoken over me.