I Didn’t Want One Anyways

To all you people out there with the generic names that everyone is familiar with, it must be nice.

It must be nice to never go through the frustration of people mispronouncing your name or spelling it incorrectly. It must be nice to have your name plastered over every pointless knickknack in every gift shop on Earth. It’s not like I’m particularly fond of any of that junk. But if I wanted to clutter my home with Maya Merch or Stormy Stuff, I’d like to have the privilege, is all I’m saying.

Prom via M&Ms

Only thing with my name on it, ever. And they were delicious.

(I said yes, btw. #throwback)

I used to hate my name growing up, but all those scars from visiting the gift shop on school field trips, and everyone but me and Sharkwandra buying personalized souvenirs have since healed.

That’s not entirely true. I’ve received a couple trinkets with my name printed on it, thanks to the misguided determination of some lovely friends of mine.

Well…kinda. It’s the thought that counts.

After a while, I came to embrace my name. It’s different, sure, but it’s kinda cool. And as one friend pointed out once,

Brandon on 'Maya'
My white friends.

That actually did nothing for my point…but who cares? I’m Maya Stormy Ray, and that’s all the point I really need. Plus, I am still just as confused but amused(conmused?) by this statement as I was when my friend said it back in high school. #morethrowback

So I thought I was over this whole my name isn’t on crap I don’t want lament. And I was…until this summer rolled along. My friend tweeted me the other day…

Share A Coke With Stormie

Oh how nifty, Coke is really going all out with these customized bottles. They even have my name! It’s spelled incorrectly, but hey, that’s still something! Something enough to make me want to drink Coca Cola. So I went on their website to see if I could buy one online or find where my name was being sold or whatever. It sends me to the UK site to look at all the names, but not before priding themselves on having printed OVER 1,000 NAMES on the page prior. Note this. Note it.

I type in ‘Stormie’ first, since that was what I saw in the tweet. This comes up.

no coke for you



Uhm, there must be some kind of mistake…Where did that picture come from then? Oh well, since I’m here, I might as well look for my first name. I mean, surely out of one thousand names, Maya would pop up…

no coke for you

Seriously? I’m not even one in a thousand??? And don’t patronize me, jerkwads. Acting like it’s cool to not have one. I scroll a bit through, curious as to what kind of names were amongst the thousand. And this is around the time when I got legitimately irked…

                           Share a Coke with ShaziaShare a Coke with Maciej Share a Coke with ShabanaShare a Coke with Ravinder

Ravinder though? RAVINDER??? What kind of name? Have you ever met a Ravinder? Like Lavender? Or…what? I just, I just can’t. I seriously doubt that anyone has EVER pressed that button right there.

Is my name really that uncommon, Coca Cola? In comparison to RAVINDER??? IS IT?!

I wanted answers. First, I looked up the name Maya on Facebook. It wouldn’t show me a number of how many Mayas had profiles, but just looking through the results, I saw that there were at least 160 Mayas that I had mutual friends with alone. And that’s just when I got tired of scrolling.

Then, I looked up most popular baby names of 2013 in the United States.

US Popular Baby Names 2013

According to Baby Center, Maya was ranked the 51st most popular baby name in the US in 2013. That’s actually higher than I expected.



reader response
Don’t think I overlooked that, cretins.

#33. Maya is flipping THIRTY-THREE in the United Kingdom.


Ma + Ya

My name is composed of two of the most BASIC sounds a human being can make. I’ll go out on a limb and say it’s a name in every culture in existence.

And even those that exist no longer… C’mon guys, like really though.

I mean right off the top of my head, I know it means sparrow in Tagalog, God’s light in Hebrew (I think), illusion in Sanskrit, narcotic drug in Japanese, and it’s the name of a Hindu goddess.

*sigh* But alas, Mayas get no love. That’s another blog post though.

Yeah so, I went through a brief period where I did exactly the opposite of what Coke asked their consumers to do. I instead shared unhappiness with every sorry soul who shared my misfortune of not having a personalized Coke bottle. Like Shanna, who started this whole debacle with her unsolicited tweeting. And anyone I met who’s name started with X or Q, because Coke apparently HATES the letters X and Q.

I could have let it go. I would have moved on. This is disappointment that I’m used to. I’ve grown with it, much like a pet.

But it kept following me…

On vacation,

Lenox Mall

Oh what a nice day shopping in Lenox Square *looks up* OR SO IT WAS.

On the Interweb,

coke commercial
Oh how fun, look at us with all our confetti and joy and Maya-less merrymaking!

But everywhere I went, Coke was just rubbing it in my face that I get no happiness.

But whatever! You know what Coke? I didn’t want your toxic concoction of chemicals anyway. Forget your soda. Forget your flash mobs outside convenience stores and doing the bernie in the streets. So happy because of your BASIC names. Forget all you common folk. Keep your “happiness,” I want no part of it.

Part of me wants to believe that Coca Cola is just holding out so they can come out with NEW NAMES every summer. But chances are I won’t care by then. So even still, screw you Coke.

I want to dedicate this post to Quentin, the drunk guy at the park who played ping-pong for three hours straight. I told him he didn’t have a Coke bottle, and he was not pleased. And neither am I. Get it together Coca Cola. For all of the Mayas, Quentins, and Xaviers of the world.


I keep trying to speak with the Latino guys at my job who work in the kitchen. I’ve worked in that place for a year and every interaction to this day has been a train wreck when I try to talk to them in Spanish. Over the past couple years, I’ve developed this habit of mixing the Japanese I’ve learned with the Spanish I know. It’s a caliente mess, let me tell you…desu. Omg!


thai sleeping

Heh, anyways, I’ve been studying Japanese for the past two years. I plan on teaching English in Japan for a couple years after I graduate from college, and I would love to become fluent in the language. But I have a long road ahead of me towards full literacy. You know how stupid you feel when you just cannot grasp a concept in school? Well imagine feeling utterly stupid in two different cultures at the same time. That was me in my first Japanese class.

My Japanese professor, Tanaka sensei, was fantastic. He really wanted us to learn Japanese in a manner as similar as possible to how we learned English as babies. So he taught with mostly visual aids, and we rarely used the text because he didn’t want students to try and translate words. Tanaka sensei’s showed us pictures, and acted out situations with a little monkey puppet so we would understand the context of words and phrases. It sounds crazy, and everyone in class exchanged confused glances at each other when he first introduced us to the monkey puppet, but after a couple times trying to translate terms and failing, we grew to appreciate his teaching methods.

Along with not allowing us to directly translate words from Japanese to English, Tanaka sensei also forbade students from speaking English during classtime. To ensure that we didn’t, he would dock points from English speakers. It seemed harsh at the time, but looking back, it really did make a difference. Not only was it a hindrance to the person speaking, but it also threw off the learning process for everyone around them. I only wish I took Tanaka sensei’s warning against this more seriously. I was good about not speaking English in class, but what I failed at was shutting my mouth.

Generally, since we weren’t allowed to speak English, if you didn’t know how to say something in Japanese, the only other option was to shut up. But of course I would be the one to make up a whole new option. I just substituted Spanish for the words I didn’t know. I’ve been out of class for a year so nobody yell at me about my grammatical mistakes and whatnot. There’s a lot I don’t remember. But moments like this would happen in class all the time:


(Ray-san, where did you go for summer vacation?)


(I went to California.)


(What did you do there?)

 家族をあって、あの。。。あのおおおお。。。La playa に行きました。

I met with family, and uh…uhhhhh…went to la playa.

La…playa… la playa って何?日本語じゃありません。

La playa? What’s la playa? That’s not Japanese.


Uhh, no.

During my first semester in the Intermediate Japanese class, I missed my midterm due to some family things going on. For make-up, I had to take my test in the Foreign Language lab at a later date. I go in for my test and walk to this table in the back of the room. My Japanese professor ran the language lab, but it was purposed for all foreign language class students to come and complete their lab assignments. During the time I had to take my test, someone who took Spanish came in to do an audio lab at one of the computers. This lab required him to record himself reading a story in Spanish and sending it to his professor. And he was stationed three feet away from me while I’m taking a Japanese exam. It was the most confusing half hour of my life.

I was sitting there, thinking in English, listening to Spanish, all of which I understood, and reading and trying to write in Japanese. It would have been easy to tune out the guy reading in Spanish if it were basic and redundant. Like if all he was saying was “El gato es negro,” or something Dick and Jane-esque, that would be easy to ignore. But no. It was this long winded story of his family throwing him a birthday party in the mall and there was cake and dancing, good music, and…cousins. I couldn’t focus for the life of me.

I got an A- on that test, but the mistakes I made, oh geez. For one question, I wrote the Spanish word for ‘where’ instead of the Japanese word. It’s donde versus doko, sue me. What was weird was that I actually wrote ‘donde’ in hiragana. And I ended up using ‘de’ incorrectly since it functions completely different in each language.

My mix of Spanish and Japanese has only gotten worse since I’ve been away from a professor that would steer me away from doing so. It’s just become a matter of whatever is easiest to say in either language, that’s what comes out of my mouth.

In my defense, apparently children who are raised in a bilingual home grow up speaking both languages at once. Some parenting guides suggest each parent speaking to the child exclusively in one language each so they can better compartmentalize the two. I’m not a child though. I don’t get the opportunity to botch language while I learn. I’ll get it together in due tiempo though, promise. But bear with me in the meantime.