Short Story About My Middle Name

My full name is Jasmine Dikesela Stewart.

There are only two things significant about my first name. First, my godfather Tony gave it to me. And second, I am one of five J’s of my parents. My mom has me and my younger sister, Jade. And my stepdad has three sons – Jason, Jared, and Justin, coincidentally!

My last name is very common. It’s the 51st most common surname in America. Nothing special, right? I got it from my biological father.

Now over the years, I have finally learned to take pride in my middle name, Dikesela. First of all, it sounds weird – it sort of rhymes with Cinderella. Then, it is Palauan which is half my nationality. And most people have never even heard of Palau anyway. So it’s a lot to explain when “middle names” becomes a topic…

I was so hurt the first time I shared my middle name with someone. I can remember it like it was yesterday!! It was in the third grade one afternoon on the school bus when I whispered my middle name to my best friend Breonna in hopes that she’d feel special that I revealed my top secret information with her. Instead, she busted out laughing loudly and said, “That sounds funny! You’re weird.”

I was sad from then on and rarely ever shared my middle name ever since. Well, until recently, that is. I’ve been doing much more research about Palau – the language, my family tree, the history of the country. And then last year, I found something very special in my photo album of baby pictures. It was a letter written sometime in 1986, several months before I was born. I could not read the letter because it was in Palauan. My now late grandfather had written it to my mom. I scanned through it anyway to see if there were any words or phrases I could recognize in Palauan. But I couldn’t. Until the end when I came upon the last paragraph. And there it was in all caps: “DIKESELA.” Wow! My grandfather named me.

Also, a couple of years ago, I got the opportunity to meet a cousin from my mom’s side, Kelsey Isechal. She brought me a gift, a Palauan-English dictionary. So when I looked out of curiosity to see if my name had a meaning, I found that it means “lady of inheritance.” And I finally fell absolutely in love with my name.


About jasminestewart87

Posted on April 28, 2011, in ABOUT ME (in general) and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Great to hear you haven’t abandoned your heritage. Its a part of you. It was far easier for you to use your first name and never refer to your middle, but wear it with pride. You’re a rare Jasmine, but an even more rare Dikesela!


  2. Thank you, Femi! I can definitely say that as I have matured and come to appreciate my mom a great deal more than I did while I was a rebellious and confused teen, I can also appreciate where she comes from more.
    I can’t wait to visit and meet that side of my family. It’s just difficult because my mom has little interest in going back. Personal reasons. But thanks for reading/commenting!

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