Every time I meet someone new and tell them my name, they will more often than not demand to know my “real” name. And then I’ll tell them that it is in fact my real name, which I inherited from my (equally hardheaded) maternal grandmother, and it means “princess” and then they’ll be like “fuck you, you pretentious little human!”
I kid, I kid.
They don’t resort to cuss words as easily as I, but they always require some sort of explanation. I’ve been quoted prices in dollars. I’ve been asked where my husband is. I’ve watched people be shocked at how I can be as dark as night and own such a white people name.
It’s probably because they usually see it in writing before they actually hear how it’s pronounced. There’s also the fact that I call myself LAKER like the basketball team, for spelling purposes. And for conversation starter purposes. I’m socially challenged, it’s the only trick I have.
But let me school you now, like that one time the history teacher paused his lecture on Napoleon to explain my name to the whole class, as punishment for not paying attention.
L A K E R (the surname)
‘La’ as in “lah” the musical note, is just a prefix. Like Mc-Something or Na-Something or Ke-Something, it’s there to personify the word, I suppose.
‘Ker’ is a Luo word for royalty and it’s pronounced like the letter “K” but when I’m feeling fancy, I go with “Laker, avec accent, like Beyon-say, en français.” Gerrit?
laker_v2.0 (the Instagram handle)
Laker version two point oh, like technology.
I especially love the idea of being able to reinvent myself every time I feel the need. You know, instead of hating the way that I am, I can fix the bugs and upgrade to a new version like an iPhone. Who doesn’t want that sort of freedom? There’s infinite power in allowing yourself to learn from and grow past your flaws/ mistakes, instead of being ashamed, or worse, chained to them. Be an app baby, evolve!
The Sharon Laker Experiment (the website name, and also my life in general)
From a creative standpoint, calling your work an experiment is genius! You get to silence all the self doubt and the critics in one move, but also remember to keep trying new things and not take it all too seriously. This is gold. And since mentally adopting awesome people and their habits is my modus operandi, I just had to add myself to this group of excellent experimenters. You CAN sit with us!
Tim, Rob and I have a history though.
Way back when I was having the worst year of my life, my favorite song lyric, and whatsapp status was:
“Every Sunday I pray for amnesia.”
I was at a point when I felt like my life just wasn’t working for me. I needed a way to start over, like in the movies when she moves to a new town and becomes a bar tender or waitress, shortly after which she’ll meet Prince Charming, find herself, and live happily ever after. Or better, fake your death, join the mafia, and return as an absolute baller.
But I was unemployed and broke. Amnesia was the more realistic/ affordable version of the story.
That lyric from Somebody Else by Emeli Sandé and The Robert Glasper Experiment was a bit of a refuge for me — it validated the fact that I did not want to exist anymore. There’s something about knowing that someone else has felt the exact, same horrible feeling that you’re feeling that makes it a lot more bearable. Music is a gift, you guys!
Tim on the other hand, is the author of the 4-Hour Workweek, a pioneer book on lifestyle design. Eliminating the bad bits from your life and replacing them with the good or new or interesting is pretty much the code that I live by nowadays.
And the moral of the story is: I used to have the right to demand people’s heads on silver platters before I got reduced to owning a basketball team (Laker’s 🙂 ), and I’ll take every chance I get to have something in common with Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter.
And if you’ve ever doubted Kimberly
There’s also Austin, Laura and Jeanne
All older than I
We’re a nice-name family
I don’t even have to try