I’ve never had many nicknames. Some friends a few years ago called me ‘Stacia’. My friend from our study abroad semester calls me Reepy because my pluck and gumption remind her of Reepicheep from ‘The Chronicles of Narnia‘. She also calls me Stizzle or Stiz. Close friends call me Stace, hard to imagine, I’m sure. But other than that…I’ve always been Stacey.
However, I’ve gained a new nick name compliments of Tracee, Stephanie, and Alece. They call me Pretty because I accessorize, wear heels, do my make-up everyday, and have some girly tendencies. I admit, I used to have a half a linen closet full of shoes. I do wear certain pieces of jewelry everyday. I wear make-up 99% of the time. And I sometimes paint my nails. Oh, I also have some big purses. But when I hear about their stories of hiking, skydiving, and mud runs…the only reason I give for NOT partaking is that ‘I’m too pretty’. That seems to answer any questions of why I would ever want to back out (reasons such as ‘I’m scared of heights’, ‘I don’t run well’, or ‘I have no desire’ don’t always register for these extreme girls). When I told them how I had to go down 14 flights of stairs in 3 inch heels, they just laughed because only Pretty would wear 3 inch heels to work. Before I went to South Africa, Alece asked me how many pairs of shoes I was bringing (the answer was 4…all sneaker types, don’t worry). It’s a fun joke and points to a difference between us.
While I was in South Africa, I wanted a Sesotho name. Most of the staff members at Thrive Africa have Sesotho names. Not wanting to be left out, I asked one of the Basotho employees, Sylvia, to give me a name before I left to come back to the States. Since I worked closer with her than any other fluent Sesotho speaker, I thought she would get to know me the best and pick the most fitting name. I wanted something to reflect my personality, my heart.
Dumela, lebitso laka ke Buhle.
Hello, my name is Beautiful.
That’s right, my Sesotho name is Beautiful. Sylvia gave me the name because where ever we went, people always talked about how beautiful my eyes are. Our entire LaunchPad class made us stop class to talk about our eyes. Lilian, our friend in Intabazwe who we visit every week, told everyone who came into her house while I was there to look at my eyes.
So, Sylvia gave me the name Buhle. I’m not sure how to spell that phonetically…Boo-hley…that’s the best I can do. I was a little surprised when I got that name because I so wanted a name that describes me.
But then I remembered that I want to redefine beauty; that I want beauty to be about my heart, about my passions, and my tears…not just how I look. Now, my nickname in English and my Sesotho name will constantly remind me to look under the skin to find beauty in myself and others.