What It's Like Growing Up With A Weird Name
Start writing a post

I prefer to be called Kiki, but my birth certificate says "Kyriaki". No, not "Teriyaki," and no, not "Karaoke." Kee-ree-ah-kee. Roll your tongue on the R and don't enunciate the K. I know my name will never be printed on a keychain or coffee mug, but, come on, it's not that hard to pronounce.

No matter how many times I say it, I will always be referred to as "Teriyaki Chicken."

Ever since I was exposed to a non-Greek world, my name has been mispronounced by a countless amount of people who couldn't roll their tongue if they tried. In the first grade, the so-called "smartest kid" in my class casually mentioned that my name sounded exactly like the name of a Japanese condiment. I had never heard the word teriyaki before, so I quickly forgot about it and moved on with my day.

As my years of school progressed and my fellow classmates transitioned from nice kids to bullies with just a sprinkle of puberty, "Teriyaki" became my new nickname. Everyone thought it was so clever, but I thought it was hurtful and childish, even as a 9-year old. I would argue with my parents, asking them what they were thinking naming me something so absurd. "But you're named after your grandmother," and "It means Sunday in Greek!" were the only two phrases that left their mouths. Even during my annual summer visits to Greece, people would make fun of me by calling me "Friday." I remember wondering how or if my grandmother ever dealt with these nuisances.

After begging my parents to change my name on the roster before I entered high school and miserably failing, I decided to adopt my late grandma's nickname, Kiki, and roll with the punches. When my new teachers took roll on the first day of school, I watched them carefully as they all glided through the Michelle's and the Ashley's. At last, when I noticed a puzzled look on my teacher's face, I simply raised my hand, "Is that the name with the K? Sideris? Yeah, that's me. Call me Kiki." This became my regular routine for the next four years, and it will probably progress for the rest of my life.

Today, in a time where being different is encouraged, I am finally starting to appreciate my name. For the sake of my slightly uncultured peers and the ability to have a cute nickname, I continue to go by the name Kiki, but I'm no longer embarrassed to reveal my full name. Actually, I think it's pretty entertaining when I meet people for the first time and introduce myself as Kiki. They always reply with something along the lines of, "But what's your real name?" And when I respond with a friendly giggle and a simple "It's Kyriaki," they always give me that same puzzled look my teachers used to give when taking roll on the first day of school. Except now, I don't cringe at the thought of my own name; I simply embrace it.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Haunted Houses For Halloween In New Jersey

The Top Scariest Haunted Houses In New Jersey


Residing in New Jersey enables you to participate in various activities, and everyone has a favorite. In New Jersey, Halloween is also celebrated in a spooky way. There are many scariest haunted houses in NJ to celebrate Halloween. If you want to confront your greatest fears, Halloween Scariest haunted houses are ideal.

Keep Reading... Show less

Leaving My Backpack In The Library

Views about society and the stranger sitting right across from me


As a college student, my backpack is an extension of myself in many ways. It contains my notes, pens, and computer vital for my success in college. It contains the snacks and water bottle I need to survive long days on campus. It also contains the "in-case" items that help put my mind at rest if I forgot something from home: extra hair ties, masks, and that backup-backup snack. With so much in my backpack important to me and my life on campus, it is no wonder that I can get apprehensive about it when it is not with me or in my line of sight. And that makes me wonder.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Cool Gadgets To Make Your Car Smart

Don't let this stop you from making your car smart. You can change the one you have using smart gadgets that transform your car into a smart car.


Cars are no longer just a mode of transport, where you only worry about the engine and how beautiful its interior is. These days, everyone wants to make their cars smarter, those with advanced technology systems. It makes sense for several reasons. It can make your vehicle more efficient and safer when you need to drive.

Keep Reading... Show less

The Inevitable Truth of Loss

You're going to be okay.


As we humans face loss and grief on a daily basis, it's challenging to see the good in all the change. Here's a better perspective on how we can deal with this inevitable feeling and why it could help us grow.

Keep Reading... Show less

'Venom: Let There Be Carnage' Film Review

Tom Hardy and Woody Harrelson lead a tigher, more fun sequel to 2018's 'Venom'

Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FmWuCgJmxo

When Sony announced that Venom would be getting a stand-alone movie, outside of the Tom Holland MCU Spider-Man films, and intended to start its own separate shared universe of films, the reactions were generally not that kind. Even if Tom Hardy was going to take on the role, why would you take Venom, so intrinsically connected to Spider-Man's comic book roots, and remove all of that for cheap action spectacle?

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments