SK Johnson: But really, what’s in a name? (30 Days, 30 Voices)

Once upon a time, I used to be known as something very different. Well, I used to be something (many things, really) very different, but that’s just part of the whole story. I’m not gonna reveal that here, (because, then, what would be the point of the whole journey of which I’m writing about?) but for posterity sake, let’s say my name was Silas. Yes. Silas… Kingsley; let’s go with that. Actually, no, because those would just give me the same initials I do now and then what would be the point of writing this at all? Okay, let’s go with Jude. My name was Jude and I was, well, a pretty mundane guy. I did mundane things like talk to people and go to parties and drink and have sex and lived a generally mundane life. I still do some mundane things, now, of course, for example talk to people (even though I’d rather not but that’s a story for another day) but my life is very different now. The story is simple; I’m an asexual introvert. Okay I’m not exactly asexual, as that generally refers to a complete lack of sexual desire, and I find a lot of people sexually attractive; but for me, that’s where it ends. I’ve never been able to understand the needs of my friends to turn at the sight of every fat ass of heavy rack or to carry on conversations with girls for weeks on end simply with the aim of getting into bed – Maybe it’s just because I find people boring, which brings me to the second part of that apt self-description. I’m an introvert. Now, most people have no idea what this means, and have some warped notion that they got from who-knows-where, about what introversion is. Introversion (likewise, extroversion) is simply a function of how people respond to stimulation. Introverts are generally very sensitive to stimulation, unlike extroverts who need large amounts before they tire out.

It has nothing to do with finding people boring (even though I do) or thinking you’re better than other people (even though I do think so, because I am). But all these were things I heard from my friends. “Jude why don’t you go out? You need to loosen up and party and have fun”. I wanted to tell them all that my own idea of loosening up and having fun was staying in bed and reading a novel. Actually, I did tell them, but you can imagine how that went.  Eventually I began to make a lot of self-negating choices, and to be honest, it didn’t feel too bad. I mean, go to a few parties, get drunk, smoke some weed, what’s the worst that could happen? Nothing at all, it turned out. Well, apart from the fact it all always left me confused. I mean, partying was work for me. I always had the urge (quite a desperate one, too) to escape somewhere and just…be. Hell, there were times I’d run into the toilet cubicles just to be away from everyone and “recharge” (no, that isn’t sexual) for a couple of minutes. But I could see that, perplexingly, this wasn’t the case for others. People became even more and more effervescent as the nights went on. Similar was the case with sex; I enjoyed it. Well, kinda. It was physically pleasurable, sure, but in the end it was just too much work for something I found to be quite boring overall. Unfortunately, unlike my friends, I never had to chase anyone for sex, girls generally fell into my lap (which is why my friends always found my lack of interest so odd, I was wasting what they were struggling for and what not) so instead of me simply deciding not to chase girls anymore when I realized I was tired of sleeping around, I had to begin rebuffing advances, which just led to me being called arrogant and things of the sort, which I had already been used to anyway, as people assume quiet folk like myself are so because we think we’re better than everyone else (even though, as I mentioned already, I actually am.)

Eventually I learned more about introversion (which I will probably expand on, some other day) and I came to understand why my friends seemed to never tire of socializing. I began to “accept” myself more, not just because studies have shown introverts who try too hard to be extroverts can end up leading themselves into physical and mental illness- as any who know me will assure you I am already as mentally ill as can be – but because it was simply easier.
Now, at this point, I realized I had pretty much tainted Jude; or rather, Jude had been taken away from me. Jude was the guy of the people, the one who wasted his time getting orgasms he had no interest in, and I needed to do something to “reclaim” myself. Part of this was cutting meat out of my diet and going vegetarian, simply because I loved all (well, most) forms of flesh so much that I realized there were few ways in which I could challenge myself more than trying to give them all up. The main thing I did, of course, is the crux of this rambling and long-winded piece. I changed my name. Yes, this turned out to be a cheesy story in the end, but whatever. I began to introduce myself by the letters “SK,” which I chose for no significant reason beyond the fact I like the way they sound when said one after the other. New name, new me. There’s nothing more to it beyond all I have said. But there’s more to it than anything I could possibly say. Of course it can be argued that changing my name is really just a sentimental and pointless action, but then words are only as powerful as you allow them be, and the power in this name, is plenty.

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30 Days 30 Voices series is an opportunity for young Nigerians from across the world to share their stories and experiences – creating a meeting point where our common humanity is explored.

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

One comment

  1. Ok..I get it! What is actually in a name? A name goes a long way to define a person. I like your write-up, however, I couldn’t link your title with your eventual destination . Good though!!!

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