For many years of my life, I despised my name. I thought it was too common and I yearned to be original. Whenever I met another person named McKenzie, I wanted to walk straight into a courtroom and get my name legally changed. Despite how common my name is though, it is always spelled wrong as “Mackenzie” with an “a,” and everyone always forgets to capitalize my “K.” The frequency and constant misspelling of my name had always driven me crazy, but my main reason for disliking my name was something different: it had no meaning. While other parents named their children after grandparents or other special people, I was named McKenzie because it sounded pretty to my mother. This bothered me, as I wanted to be named after something meaningful. I wanted to hear my name and understand the worth that was associated with the eight letters. My name and I have been through so much together, and as I grew to love my name, I also grew to love myself.
My mental health has always been a struggle. Making friends was never easy for me as I overthought every encounter I had with my peers and I struggled to make connections because of my insecurities. Constantly in battle with myself, I was exhausted, and for a long time, I was depressed. I didn’t like myself or my life and I needed to overcome the negativity that was always in my head. One day in early November of my freshman year of high school, something clicked inside my brain, causing my mindset to change. I had just signed up for the Mock Trial team at my school and I was looking forward to the first meeting. Looking at the club’s sign-up sheet, I saw my name in all its weird spelling glory, and I fell in love with it. It became clear to me just how much my name could be worth. My life was meant for so much more than sadness and defeat. I realized that I could use my name to sign up for countless experiences and opportunities that would help me to build and define my meaning. I recognized that I already was worth so much more than I knew. That day, my name became so much more to me than just eight letters. Those eight letters stood for my struggles, happy memories, accomplishments, and failures. Most importantly, my name stood for my potential to be great, and because of that, I never wished to change my name again.