What is in a name? Apparently a whole lot!

Nide Zimemo Stannard

Side note: Omarion has a tattoo with what seems to be my name on it. Desperate much? I think I am.

As I sat at the hospital waiting room for my name to be called, I started to get agitated, so I decided to close my eyes for a second. In between the interrupted naps, I would panicly open my eyes and ask my accompanying friend “Have they called my name yet?” She would reply, “Go back to sleep Nide, of course I will hear when they announce your name on the intercom”. After hours of waiting, I heard faintly in my deep sleep “Ny-dee, Ny-dee please come up to the desk.” I quickly woke up and wheeled my chair to the front desk. As my friend trotted behind me she was still convinced that my name had not been called yet.

For such a very short name it proved to be such a challenge to most. My lax attitude and not being stern enough about the pronunciation of my name has forced me to learn more about this name called Nide. How I got named is the most embarrassing account and to avoid the dreaded conversation of “Oh, that is such a pretty name, what does it mean?” Well, anyone that has asked me that question probably got the “It means gorgeous princess in Xhosa, my African dialect”. That is so far from the truth. Here is some few examples of what my closest friends call me:

Shannon: Knee-day [this is my spouse of seven years]
Frank: Knee-na
Zida: Knee-dee
John: Knee-duh
Jolene: Yo!
Patric: Knee-dhe
Hospital staff: Ny-dee
Lack of interest strangers: Nadia

When I was born on March 28, 1981, I was a 5 1/2-month premature baby. The story goes that I was so tiny that when my immediately paranoid mother left the hospital with me — in a baby swaddle blanket– she had to check it every second, just in case I slip through a blanket opening. My entire family was uncertain on how to take care of me because of my fragile and weak state. When my father saw me for the first time, he denied me as his daughter because as he so eloquently put it, “I don’t make such weakly pathetic babies, you should see my other kids [from a different mother],they are healthy and strong.”

How I get my name apparently, my family members were debating on what I should be named after coming from the hospital. They had never seen a baby so minute that jokes were thrown around. It is at this point that my ever-drunk aunt piped up and scolded the adults: “Nide nihleke nje…” This statement translated in English is, “How dare you start to laugh…” After she scolded them she suddenly was hit by the bright idea, “Nide, oh my god, we should call her Nide”. By any language, how the hell was I ever supposed to explain that to strangers, particularly English-speaking strangers. From that point on, I never cared to explain my name to anyone.

In 2005, I got pregnant with my first child. His father and I decided on a name. At that time, both his father and I were dedicated followers of the MTV reality show called The Real World. There was one contestant there that we both were particularly fond of and so we decided to call our son Nehemiah, after this contestant.Many months after our Nehemiah was born, his father and I decided to watch the re-runs of The Real World.As we both stared at the television screen, turns out, the guy we were fond of was NOT Nehemiah, but his name was Alton. Nehemiah was the other guy that we did not care for much. This is why he and I are incapable of co-parenting. Somehow, my son heard me share this story with a friend and so he walks around the house calling himself Alton. So, I have decided to reclaim and bring back pride in my name so that my son can also go back to being proud of his first name.

As I do with all my research, I decided to confront Google and demand answers. To my amazement, my name rocks!

cyanide = Strong poison;

snide = Unpleasant remark;

Enid Blyton = My Favorite author growing up;

uranide = Any element having an atomic number greater than that of protactinium;

unideal = Lacking ideals;

niderings = coward;

selenides = Any compound in which selenium serves as an oxidation number of -2;

nonidentity = No identity;

antimonides = Any member of a rare mineral group consisting of compounds of 1 or more metals with antimony;

actinides = Typical metals that have properties of both d-block and the f-block elements, but they are also radio active;

arsenides = A compound or arsenic with less electronegative element or elements;

nonideal = Differing in behavior from that of an ideal gas or solution;

ozonides = Any compound, usually explosive, formed by the additional of ozone to the double or triple bond of an organic compound.

Whew! Thank goodness for chemistry and physics. What a relief to find out that somewhere, somehow my name means something significant. I cannot say that I am proud of all the meanings of the words that have ‘nide’ in them, but this sure was a great start. Next time someone asks me what my name means, if it is someone I don’t care for: “It is derived from the word cyanide, meaning poison” I think from here on out I am about to have fun with my name. Now my next dilemma is to work on the name Nehemiah.


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