I have a bone to pick with my parents. You see this cup? This is my life. I don't know if my father thought he was being creative when he named me, but he decided to call me Shanika Mo'ney (check out that spelling - It's pronounced like Monet!) Scott. Later Amanika got tacked on to make matters worse and since the DMV doesn't acknowledge hyphens or AKA's, I'm just Shanika Money Scott-Weatherford now. I've been called everything from Tamika and Shamika to Shaneesha, but the all time WORST - and most common, is being called Shaniqua.
I enunciate when I speak. I use proper grammar, I have all of my teeth, and so I know you people hear me when I say my name is Shanika! After 25 years of being called the wrong thing, you get very particular about these matters. I even tried to just make it easier on people and take the "Sha-" out of the equation and asked to be called Nika. That was working until I worked my husband's family into my life and "Nika" was already taken as a nickname by my husband's god-sister. The irony? The person using "Nika" actually HAS a name that ends in the dreaded "QUA." So for all intensive purposes, I am stuck using my full first name, much to my annoyance. Not because I hate it, but because I just want to hit someone in the throat when they call me Shaniqua.
If you're wondering why this bugs the crap out of me, listen here: I am a girl from nothing and nowhere. My parents didn't birth me with a silver spoon, in fact I was born in one of the most infamously dangerous places in the state of California. I don't pride myself on it, trust me. I was raised in a housing project, went to schools that only now as a parent do I realize how messed up it could have all turned out.
The bottom line is I had everything working against me, and it didn't keep me down. To the Shaniqua's of the world, I don't mean to offend, but that name is a symbol of everything I spent my entire adolescence and now my adult life rebelling against. And maybe this has more to do with me than the people who are messing up my name (I get that) but the name just screams "GHETTO" to me. I feel like people are literally hearing my name and ASSUMING they misheard and it's actually Shaniqua. It has to be right? Usually when I correct people they say "Oh, well that's a pretty spin on it." No lie. Like I just said it's Ashley with two E's or something. Like my parents made a change on a traditional name. There's nothing traditional about Shaniqua. It's not my heritage, it's not in my family, IT'S NOT MY NAME.
Since they won't let me change my name to a symbol a-la-Prince, I guess I'm stuck riding this nonsense out for the foreseeable future. But if you should happen to meet me on the street, PLEASE don't call me Shaniqua!