When Juliet asks Romeo, “but what is in a name?”, her point was that we are not our namesakes; we are individuals. But, are we truly individuals? Are we completely free to chart our own course? Do our names only affect us because of who we are associated with: is it a choice, or does the name bestowed upon us somehow determine the path on which we travel in life?
My name is Toi Mekhi and names may matter. Toi is a Hebrew name meaning “one who wanders.” Mekhi has a few translations. The Polynesian translation is “toward the water.” In Hebrew, it means life source or like G-d, and finally, the Japanese translation is “of the underworld.” Let that sink in a minute.
Having spent my entire life wandering, most of it in a daydream, I have to wonder if there isn’t more to a name. A copy of my Kindergarten report card reveals, ” Toi spends her day with her head in the clouds,” and my first grade report card notes, “Toi is very talkative and distracts other students by speaking her own language which only she seems to understand, and always at inappropriate times.” In hindsight, I was in a dual language school for those two years and I did not come from a dual language home, so I was not versed in the second language that was required to be spoken every other day. Maybe I thought that was what everyone else was doing. Maybe I decided that since I had no idea what people were saying, I should be challenging them too. Who knows.
As I grew older, I wanted to explore, create, and perform; but I lacked focus, day- dreamed too much, and had horrible stage fright. In addition, I could not articulate exactly what I wanted to do. I just knew that I wasn’t a “rules” person, tended to lose interest in things rapidly, and I wanted to be creative. It wasn’t until I reached high school and registered for a speed reading class that I started to feel I wasn’t the only space cadet on the planet. One day in class, my teacher declared, ” If you don’t like the view, change your seat.” I have been changing my seat ever since.
Having changed my seat often, I now possess a plethora of life and work experience. Traveling, Teaching, Sales Management, and even a bit of Acting, are all in my professional repertoire. Deciding to wander into College at this stage in my life may seem odd, but I enjoy the challenge and I still have much to learn. Reminiscent of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, I am being born now, in my prime. Equipped with wisdom, I have no interest in what the underworld can offer. If I travel toward it, I assure you, it is for research only. I like to think that my being an empath and my genuine care for others is a God-like quality, but I have also gone through a self- absorbed, materialistic stage. I would now refer to that version of me as having a God-like complex. What matters is, I wandered beyond that. Continuing to learn and being creative is my life source. Piedmont College is watering my soul. I am indeed one who wanders. At times my wandering is calculated with a specific destination in mind, but more often than not, I am just floating along in the clouds. In the words of the wise J.R.R Tolkien, “Not all those who wander are lost.”