59th – 60th ALL THAT I AM: Nomenclature and Identity
I’ve been on a voyage of discovery in the run-up to my 59th Birth Date Anniversary, or my 60th birth date when I count the day I was born as the first. I’ve been musing on identity, and researching my name to see what insights a nomenclature approach may offer – the process has been quite revealing.
Incidentally, it took a while for me to start including my ‘born day’ as my first birth date, it somehow looked like a year had been missed, and that this perpetual time-loss could somehow be carried throughout life.
Not to worry, I’ve fixed it, 59th – 60th it is!
WHAT DOES ‘NOMENCLATURE’ MEAN?
the devising or choosing of names for things, especially in a science or other discipline_
the body or system of names used in a particular specialist field_
the term or terms applied to someone or something_
My full name is Cynthia Antoinette Roomes, my parents (RIP) were Jamaican, I usually tick the Black British Caribbean (aka BBC) box, I consider myself to be of the African Diaspora, conscious of my heritage, born and raised in Brixton, south London UK.
People who don’t know of me or haven’t seen a picture, have on occasion met me with varying degrees of pleasure, surprise, disdain, horror, or disappointment when I turn up at places by invitation, and people see a black woman. I think it’s got something to do with my name, I suspect they expect to see someone who is white.
By the way, I have experienced these kinds of responses from people of all colours and races and genders. This added to my desire to take a closer look at what my name actually means, where it comes from, and whether or not I live up to it.
Cynthia – Huntress; Artemis; Diana_
In Greek the root meaning of the name Cynthia is ‘Of Cynthus’ (Mount Cynthus or Kynthos on the island of Delos). Cynthia was one of the names of the mythological goddess of the moon and hunting.
Selene, the Greek personification of the moon, and the Roman Diana (meaning ‘heavenly’ or ‘divine’), and often identified with the Greek goddess Artemis (meaning ‘safe’ or ‘a butcher’), were also sometimes called “Cynthia”.
My mother once told me she named me ‘Cynthia’ after her teacher at school whom she admired and was very fond of in her early years.
Antoinette – Priceless; Inestimable; Highly Praiseworthy_
In Italian – it is the feminine form of ‘Antoine’, meaning priceless, inestimable, highly praised. It is one of many given names traceable to the root ‘Anthos’, meaning flower.
In English – the name means ‘highly praiseworthy’ and ‘the priceless one’.
In French – it is a given name, the feminine form of Antoine (from the Latin ‘Antonius’), meaning beyond praise or highly praiseworthy.
Original roots include a Roman clan name.
Roomes – Pilgrim, Traveller, Roman
An unusual and interesting surname of many spelling variations, has two possible origins. The first is from the Latin personal name “Romanus”, itself originally a pre-christian by name. The second is that “Roman” or “Room” can also be an ethnic name for someone from Rome or from Italy in general, or perhaps a nickname for a pilgrim who had travelled to Rome and back.
My great grandmother was a caucasian German woman who found her way to rural Jamaica where she set up home, a small holding, and had children by a black man. My grand father ‘Maas Hugh’ was one of them. As the bits of the story I’ve been told go, it was a happy village type community living up in the hills in the last throes of the plantation industry, pre and post abolition.
My German ancestors have left a nomenclature legacy – I have cousins named Gunter (meaning: war, battle, army, warrior); Maynard (meaning: hardy, brave, strong); and an uncle named Adolphus (meaning: noble wolf).
I think these German roots are also revealed in the name ‘Hause’ or ‘Hauser’, and that this root eventually led to the surname I currently have, and the descriptor I often use i.e. ‘Roomes’ as in a ‘Hause’.
The Anglo-Saxon name Hause comes from the Old French personal name Haueis and the Old German personal name Hadewidis, which literally means battlewide. The surname Hause may also be derived from residence “at the haw”, which refers to a garth, yard, or enclosure. In this case, Hause belongs to the class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees.
LINKS TO A PRINCESS_
I was a former employee of The Diana Award, a legacy charity to Diana – Princess of Wales, and her belief that young people have the power to change the world, celebrating and commemorating her qualities of kindness, compassion, and service.
I hunt for funding and other resources to help the old charity continue its mission to nurture develop and inspire positive change in the lives of young people. In a nomenclature exploration The Diana Award was a very fitting place for me to work.
I wrote a guest blog where I celebrate the Windrush Generation, and highlight the plight of those caught up in the Windrush Scandal. There is also a poetic tribute to my mother, and everyone who is part of the Windrush Legacy #mamacrymamacry.
You can read it here:
LINKS TO A QUEEN_
Marie Antoinette was the Queen of France who became a symbol for the wanton extravagance of the 18th century monarchy, and was stripped of her riches and finery, imprisoned and beheaded by her own subjects during the French Revolution.
“Let them eat cake” is the traditional translation of the French phrase “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”, supposedly spoken by “a great princess” upon learning that the peasants had no bread. A saying that shows insensitivity to or incomprehension of the realities of life for the unfortunate. While the phrase is commonly attributed to Queen Marie Antoinette, there is no record of her having said it.
In my mind, it kind of depends on who made the cake (or brioche), and who needs to eat it, as a reward, or as a punishment in pursuit of social justice. We all need to shine a light on the fact that people – revolutionaries versus the establishment, are still making decisions about ‘who eats cake’ (or not) today.
ORIGINAL ARTWORK IMAGE: ‘Let Them Eat Cake’ ©
Thankfully I have kept my head, all that is within it, and all that emanates from it, including what I really have written and said:
“I exist to challenge the inequality of the status quo
through my day job
where I specialise in community & youth work and fundraising for good causes
and through my creativity
where I reflect on life and the human condition
from a Black woman’s perspective”
In my African nomenclature I am Ashanti Esi Owusu. My black ancestors in Jamaica are thought to be from Ghana in west Africa. One other source also points to a west Indian native blood line, and links to the Maroons.
Ashanti – the name of a tribe of people who originated in Ghana. The French called them the Ashanti people because they were undefeatable. The name means Undefeated, Divine and Peace, though some meanings in ‘twi’ state Ashanti has meaning associated with ‘warlike’.
Esi – simply, it means born on a Sunday! This is true.
Owusu – one of the most common Akan surnames or Akan given names in Ghana. There are both male and female versions – male: “OWUSU” and female: “OWUSUA”, which means “Strong Willed and Determined” in Akan language.
If I was to be known by any other name I would like it to be The Esoteric Mystic Oracle.
Esoteric – that which is intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest, the “enlightened” or “initiated” or “specially educated”.
Mystic – a person who seeks to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute by contemplation and self-surrender, or who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect.
The roots of the word ‘mystic’ are Greek, old French, and Latin – similar to my name Cynthia Antoinette Roomes
Oracle – any utterance made or received as authoritative, extremely wise, infallible.
However, the utterances can also be ambiguous or obscure.
As a name Oracle means ‘Prophecy’, it has Greek origins, and roots in the Latin verb ‘orare’ which means ‘to speak’.
In classical and biblical antiquity, an oracle provides wise and insightful counsel, prophetic predictions, precognition of the future. It relates to the revelation of a divine purpose, a priest or priestess acts as a medium and gives responses to inquiries on behalf of God or ‘the gods’, or as one who implements divine commands.
An oracle can also be a shrine or place of worship dedicated to a hallowed person or thing.
In Matrix Revolutions the Oracle hints at her true purpose – ‘to bring imbalance to the equations that form the Matrix’. A simulated virtual world created by secretive apogees who control peoples perceptions and their ability to choose.
In modern technology there are Oracle software applications relating to databases, information management systems, and enterprise resource planning.
DIGITAL NOMENCLATURE EXTRACTION_
My name has 23 characters without spaces, I use all of them to create a new nomenclature, a technological and science based ’I am’.
‘Atomic | Internet | Yahoo | Sent’
This extraction leaves me with a mind blowing set of applications e.g. fission and fusion, nuclear energy | power, an infinite source of information and data storage, digital systems and processes, delivered by electronic mail.
It is well worth taking a look at all of the letters and words in my ‘ALPHABET SOUP – A to Z advice for entrepreneurs’ – includes a free to download 28 page pdf.
ALL THAT I AM_
Even before I realised what my nomenclature approach reveals, or where it came from, with the value of hindsight and the retrospective, I live up to my names. It doesn’t matter if they are perceived as black or white, or even if I designated them for myself and made them up, they all have meanings, and I’m happy to live up to them.
None of my ambition to be true to myself has been broken by the barbaric horrors of the transatlantic slave trade; the north African slave trade before that; the Europeans who relentlessly partitioned Africa; the Greeks; the Romans; the Egyptians; nor the African nations who helped them decimate black peoples.
None of the adverse childhood experiences (ACEs = bad cards dealt against me in my early years), nor the oppressive failures before them and after them, not even those people with racist mentalities who live and breathe their own toxicity today.
None of that could break me, none of that could separate me from my heritage and the truth that is my identity.
Is all well in love and war, or war and peace? No, not really. It has been very difficult for me to draw a thread through that kind of history. However, I am creative, I have found the thread, and I have learnt how to weave it.
I live up to my names. I triumph over adversity. I am all that I am, and more _
With thanks and much appreciation to the authors of many sources of information researched on the internet and which contributed to the development of this article: