01 October 2009

Me and the Chihuahua

I have an unusual first name, and it's been a bane and blessing all my life.

As a child, I hated my name--even went through a phase where I would tell people I was named Katherine and to call me Kate.

As I grew older I began to appreciate the uniqueness of my name a little more. It drew (and still draws) attention and sometimes provides a nice conversation starter. Also, most people don't have preconceived notion of what kind of person a "Keena" should be. They don't hear my name and think of the high school frienemy who stole their boyfriend.

On the downside, a lot of people don't get my name right either.

For years, my great-aunt proudly presented me with a cake that said, "Happy Birthday, Kenna." A junior high teacher called me "Kenya," and in college,  a drunken student thought I was "Kiwi." The name stuck with me for four years.

I've met only four other Keena's in my life, and each time I've found myself confused and slightly annoyed. I mean how dare anyone else have my name. I know. Most people learn to deal with that aspect of life while in pre-school. I've never had to.

But last week I experienced a first. A Kincaid from Arizona stumbled across a blog post and wondered if we were related (we're not), then casually let me know his Chihuahua is named Keana (pronounced the same as mine, key-na).

I gaped for a moment, then surprised myself by laughing. He'd named the dog for his grandchildren (using the first letter of each of their names). I only hope no one ever purposely names their dog after me. :-)


Unknown said...

KEENA--I love your name. I do understand the perks and perils of an unusual first name. Now, in reality, "Celia" is not unusual--it's just easily confused. I have often been--"Cecilia,Ciel,Celie,Cecile, and Cybyl--"You see? and my last name--Yeary--invariably has an "L" in it--Yearly. I'll bet we've corrected that error one million times. It's natural, because there are few Yearys.
Young mothers these days want a baby name that is unique. And they make up names or spellings. This will cause that child problem her/his entire life. My best friend's son and DIL had a baby girl. They named her Alaina--very pretty and most people say it correclty--but see the "i"--no one can spell it. She told me--"you're the only friend I have who can spell Alaina's name.(my husband is Jim--he's often called John!!!)I love names--I collect them! Celia

Anonymous said...

I started reading this, and just KNEW my name would come up somehow! You know I feel your pain, sista.


Cheryl Pierson said...

Hi Keena,

I can SOOOOOOO relate. Here's my story. My parents, in an effort to be different, named me Cheryl--but they didn't say it like 99% of the world says it, like "SHeryl"--they said it like it looks: CHAIR-yl. So I have had to correct people, even relatives, my entire life and tell them, "It's not SHeryl, it's CHeryl." I finally gave up. My middle name? KATHLYN. Not Kathleen, not Kathryn. Now, say CHeryl KathLYN fast 5 times--sounds like a mouthful of mush. My dad got really good at it though, and loved to call me that (especially when he was mad.) LOL Thank GOD, my last name was simple: Moss. This is why I named my daughter JESSICA. Named my son CASEY, up until the year he was born a very masculine name, but that year, it seemed several people decided to name their girls Casey. When he started school, he had a girl in his class named MICHAEL. I'm like Celia, I love names and collect them, I think because mine was so weird. Love the story of the chihuahua, though. LOL Great post.

Keena Kincaid said...

How someone gets John out of Jim is a mystery to me, Celia.

Kenna and I used to work at the same agency, everyone, and I still get called Kenna, although not quite as often. It's kinda humorous to watch people stop and mentally readjust.

Cheryl, Keena is actually an old family and is Gaelic (although the spelling has been Anglicized). Mom wasn't trying to be different. She just liked old names.