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Molon Labe

My name is Karaghen.

While staring at the computer screen, my eyes hazily gaze at the top twenty girl names listed online for 1995. Jessica, Ashley, Emily, Samantha, Sarah, and Taylor make the top six. I sit and ponder on the website’s results even though they do not surprise me.  How many Emilys do I know? Two, four, maybe even five? The same goes for all the other names. I think about my name. The one that is always underlined a bright, blaring red when typed out on Microsoft Word or has to be repeated more than once when meeting someone. “You’re called Ceirigan, Kraigen? Oh wait, did I say that right?” My name is Karaghen. I know it is indeed different, but it is my own.


Sitting on my old, creaky computer chair, my thoughts wonder off to another time—a family Christmas party. My mom, dad, sister, and I drove a thousand miles to get the small house with lit-up reindeer and fake snow in the front lawn. I take a deep breath, I never liked going to parties. Whether it is the loud bellowing of the large conversing crowd, no one talking to you because you are one of the youngest, or the utter feeling of not belonging, the predicament bothers me. When I do walk inside, the people greet us with a warm welcome, even though we are not usually this close.


After barely touching my plate covered with a grotesque meatloaf hunk, we start the gift exchange. I get a shiny bubble-gum pink bag with billowing white tissue paper coming from the opening. On its left side is written, ‘To Cairgen Merry X-mas.’ Inside there is a Barbie doll, something I grew out of years ago. When we get back to my grandparents’ house, my parents tell me it is the thought that counts, not the misspelling of a word. I sighed, is the act of getting a material item for someone more important than the consideration in taking the time to correctly spell a family member’s name, a name this person will always have?


As I recalled the previous memory, another comes to mind.  I see myself walking through the long hallway filled with the rows of mustard-yellow lockers. My first day of sixth grade in this foreign new land, I was getting lost easily. Arriving to class, I sit at a desk in the front of the room covered with graffiti. I knew no one and my peers were indifferent. When the science teacher with greasy, red hair and many wrinkles took attendance, she said everyone’s name clear and concisely, except mine. She paused, and then squinted, “Last name Hudson, Hudson?” Raising my hand, I told her my first name. In return, she calls me “girl” in a high squeaky voice for the next three weeks of school.


I do not get upset or angry when people mispronounce or spell my name incorrectly. I am used to the butchery and realize this is a problem others face as well. I am proud to write my name down on a sheet of paper knowing, it is the only sheet with such a title. You can have your Jessicas, Emilys, and Sarahs. My name is Karaghen. I know it is indeed different, but it is my own. It can never be taken away from me.     


- Karaghen Hudson, September 2010 

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