CEYC Names Narrative: 薛佳玥 (Sheryl Xue)
Written by: Sheryl Xue Edited by: Sithara Naidoo
Names can help to remind us of our roots; they can remind us where we come from, the people we love, and the language we speak. Whether your name is short or long, there is always so much hidden inside. When you take the time to truly think about your name, the origin, and everything it’s attached to, you might make many discoveries about yourself.
My name is Sheryl Jiayue Xue. I used to dislike my name because I’ve heard it sounds like an old librarian name (don’t get me wrong, I think old librarians are cool), but I’ve grown to love it! I love the way my name looks on projects that I’m proud of, and achievements that I’ve worked hard for. More than anything, I love that way my name dramatically pops out towards me when I’m scanning a sheet of paper. It might look ordinary to everyone else, but there's a sort of hidden chemistry it has with my eyes and my brain that make it seem like one in a million.
As much as I love my English name, as someone who is trying to embrace my Chinese heritage, I want to focus on my Chinese name more. I absolutely adore my Chinese name, 薛佳玥 (Xue Jia Yue), especially after learning about all of the thought that my parents put into it. The first character, 薛 (Xuē) is my family name that I share with a number of kindhearted and joyous relatives. In Chinese, the character 佳 (Jiā) means auspicious or of quality, and the last character, 玥 (Yuè), is translated to “a precious gem or pearl”. This character is written in eight strokes, and in China, eight is a lucky number because the pronunciation (八 bā) is similar to another word (发 fā) that means prosperity and success.
Although I don’t hear my Chinese name nearly as often as I hear my English name, when think about the people who do call me 薛佳玥, it makes my name all the more special to me. Whenever I see my grandparents, they call out my name with a smile on their face and in a very specific tone; one that feels endearing and is filled with excitement. When I visit China, I love hearing my Chinese name coming from the people who are everything I love about the country. Hearing it reminds me of my culture and the community that I now feel proud to be a part of, something I struggled with a lot when I was younger.
I think names can hold as much power as we want them to hold, and we can choose whatever meaning we want to take out of it. In the way my Chinese name has helped to remind me of everything I love about China, it’s also helped me to unlearn the shame I used to feel for being Chinese. I hope you never feel ashamed of your name that holds infinite beauty inside it, and I hope you never forget your name, especially your ethnic name. Much of my identity sits within these three characters, and I believe there is so much more to unlock in the future.