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Just Claire

My name is from the Latin and French languages. In French, it means “clear” in its feminine form. There are many versions of the name Claire. Clarissa. Clare without the i, Clara, Clair without the e. Even Clarence. They all sound the same. Someone could say “Clara!” and I would immediately respond, thinking that they were calling me. Sometimes I wish my parents had chosen a different name for me. Something more unique and special. Like Theodosia, Indie, or Willow or Sparrow.

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A name no one has but me.

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It’s hard to distinguish when people are actually trying to call your name. When people say the word “clear” or maybe even “clarinet,” I’d perk up, ready to respond. Then find out that they weren’t calling me.

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In my school, I am often made fun of for my name. “Clarissa!” or “Clarence!” My brother’s name is Terence, and my name is Claire, so why not smush them together and call both of them Clarence?

In books and movies, there’s always a character with a name similar to Claire, Clarence, Clair, Clare, etc. Sometimes she or he is big, and sometimes she or he is small. Sometimes she or he could be tall and skinny, and other times short and fat. She could be the daughter of Ares, or sometimes he could be a chubby little boy with just two teeth. Ordinary enough, I don’t feel like them. I don’t feel connected to them in any way. I am me. Just me.

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Recently on the news, I heard that the country of Macedonia is debating on whether it should change its name to Northern Macedonia. It doesn’t really seem to make a difference.

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Does it?

Then a woman came on the radio and pointed out how adding one word to the country’s name could change, surprisingly enough, its identity.

If I wasn’t given the name Claire, would my identity change?

Would the way that I think of myself and others change?

Would the decisions that I make change as well?

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I’m not sure.

Claire Jiang
Claire Jiang, 12
Princeton, NJ

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