You know those times when you are having a really lousy day and something on your Facebook Feed simply cheers you up? Maybe a cute cat trying to get its owner’s attention, or the look of utmost confusion on the face of an adorable baby upon seeing her father’s twin brother (yes, cats before babies. ALWAYS) or precious little Seth requesting people to wear Yellow for him?
For me, it was one of those days. I had a really crappy start to my day and to kill some time, I was going through my newsfeed that was filled with articles and updates about every horrible thing that is happening in the world these days. It was then, that I came across an update from the “Humans of New York” page that I follow. For those of you who don’t know, Humans of New York (HONY) is a page that was started in 2010 by Brandon Stanton, a New York based professional photographer as a fun exhaustive catalogue of 10,000 New York inhabitants but turned into a massively popular photoblog and bestselling book featuring street portraits and interviews collected in New York City. Brandon collects quotes and short stories from the people he meets on the streets, and includes these snippets alongside the photographs. Taken together, these portraits and captions are the subject of a vibrant blog. With over eight million followers on social media, HONY now provides a worldwide audience with daily glimpses into the lives of strangers in New York City.
For those of you who already know about HONY, my sincere apologies for digressing. Coming back to the post that caught my attention, it was not one of those heartwarming photos that gets everyone all “mushy” and “awwie”, just a photo of a beautiful young girl who talks about her frustrations having the same name as Queen Bey:
“Sometimes I hate my name because it always draws attention to me, and I’m not a very social person. My family moved this year from Pennsylvania. I was so scared the first day of school that someone would notice me. I wouldn’t even adjust my seat because I thought it would make a noise. One time I really had to cough, but I held it in. When the teacher started calling attendance, I got really nervous, because every time people learn my name is Beyoncé, somebody starts singing ‘Single Ladies.’ And some did, of course. But the second day of school wasn’t too bad. Because everyone knew my name.”
Most people dream of being Beyoncé, or at least having access to her flawless lifestyle. There is a saying that I love, “Always be yourself. Unless you can be Beyoncé. Then be Beyoncé.” What some people may not consider, however, is just how difficult it can be to share a name with the international star. Growing up is tough. And it’s even tougher when you have a famous name.
Now you must be wondering why this post cheered me up. It was not merely the fact that her name was Beyoncé. It was actually the comments section that I found to be unusually amusing where hundreds of people with all sorts of unusual names leapt up at the opportunity of relating to and sympathizing with the young Beyoncé. Some had similar problems, sharing names with celebrities, while others just had the misfortune of walking through life with hilarious-sounding namesakes.
Let’s just take a moment to appreciate all the hilarious comments left at this photo: (below is an autoplay carousel)
Tired of reading all the comments yet? Me neither! I could go on and on with the hilarious comments as this post received thousands of amusing comments, more than 20,000 shares and around 300,000 likes but I want to briefly talk about something that came to mind after seeing this post. We all know about how mean and cruel some people can be on social networking sites with cases of cyber-bullying and harassment popping up every now and then. You come across innocent teens being bullied because of their names, skin color, race, religion, weight, height and eating habits – the effects of which can be devastating and confidence-demeaning for life. Amongst all this meanness and cruelty, it was very refreshing for me to come across a post where thousands of strangers tried to make the young girl feel better about her name by sharing their own struggles of living with an unusual or famous namesake.
As a child I was often the butt of all football related jokes- My name is قرةالعين but I was “Korat al kadam”
“كرة القدم” for the longest parts of my teenage years. I was also the butt of all “Annie, are you ok, are you ok, are you ok, Annie?” jokes but I used to find that funny and laugh it off. To all the teens out there struggling with not having normal names, I just want to say that someone else’s standards shouldn’t dictate your worth- you are not here to conform but rather to stand out and if your name makes you stand out, then embrace it!
Last but not the least, parents, please read and take note – don’t give your children names that will make them cringe later, just because it’s “fashionable” now. There is nothing more transient than fashion. Please be mindful of the lives your children still need to lead with the monikers you’ve chosen for them. Unless you’re filthy, stinking rich to the point where your children’s children’s children won’t have to work if they don’t want to. In that case feel free to name them Blue, Pilot, Apple or North.