by PaDee Vue
Spoken Word Poem
My name is PaDee – but my name is also “potty”, “party”, or whatever else is the easiest and most comfortable for the lips that perpetuate hate and violence. The lazy ones say “oh that’s too hard, let me give you a nickname”, but they don’t know that what’s hard is being made fun of for having a name so “foreign” to begin with. Or having to contain my embarrassment every time someone new attempts to juggle my name in the same mouth that thinks it’s okay to mock accents and spit jokes that can kill.
In grade school I remember having to use the bathroom. Immediately I called over the teacher for permission only to be the center of ridicule. I could feel the heat of embarrassment creep upon my cheek, making its way down my neck to strangle what little I had left of my pride. How could I have been angry with others when I harbored anger within myself for having this name?
Eighth grade – we have a substitute teacher. They go down the list of attendance with ease as names slide off their tongue. Yet towards the end, I could feel the ease melt away as their lips begin to scrunch, their mouth begins to twitch, and their loud whisper fills the ears of the unsettled students. With attempts to pronounce a name unfamiliar to their taste, they ask “am I saying this correct?” With no hesitation, I say, “yes.” How can I find the courage to correct when I wasn’t raised to do so?