July 14, 2011
So. I changed my name.
I used to be Rebecca Igeka Williams. ‘Igeka’ was very dear to me. It was a middle name that my parents made up and I loved it. Weird, yes. One thing that was slightly annoying was that people always pronounced it “eye” “geek” “uh”, or “e” “geck” “uh”. My mother told me it was spelled wrong on my birth certificate. She said she wanted to wait to ask her grandmother how to spell it phonetically, but they wouldn’t let my mom wait. The hospital staff made her decide right when I was born, and so, in a rush, she was unable to spell it phonetically as she would have liked. According to my father the first two syllables are French and the last is Hebrew. This comes as recent news to me.
If you can say the alphabet in french, then when you get to I, J, K, you have said my name.
For the first 11 years of my life I went by a different last name (long story involving my mother, pseudo-step-father, passports, and living in other countries). At 11 years old, I began to call myself Rebecca Williams, according to my birth name. It never quite fit or felt like my name. My father is William Williams, and hence, Williams has always felt very much like it belonged to my father.
Later, I married, and in doing so became Rebecca Hess. After my divorce, I did not have the energy to do all the follow up required to change a name. As I approached the end of massage school, it was finally time to change my name. I wanted a name of my own on my graduation certificate from massage school and on my massage license. And so, I took my middle name and made it my new last name. The pronunciation remains the same. In the process I figured I might as well replace the “G” with a “J” and add an “H” at the end. And so … Igeka has become Ijekah.
Today, Ijekah gets her certificate of completion from the Ralston School of Massage in Reno, Nevada.