About My Name
My name, Erin Ye, was one of the many things that grew on me with time. Like brussel sprouts, folk music, and lecture-style classes, a younger version of me found my name wholly unenjoyable and boring to a fault. I longed for one of the pretty names, something that floated across the tongue, ending with an A or a Y rather than abruptly with an N. I hated how short my last name was, how people pronounced it either Yay or Yee. My mom would insist that a name like Erin Lynn Ye was fit for a movie star, but then again, my mom also thought my bob with bangs was the pinnacle of fashion, so her platitudes did little to mollify my angst.
I’m not six anymore, and I would like to think I’m more cultured now. There are a lot of reasons to love my name - I think its strength is in its humble construction. For those who get to know me better, its beauty lies in its elegant complexity.
The name Erin has two possible etymological origins. The Irish derivative roughly translates to West and is often used in reference to the nation of Ireland herself. The Greek name means peace.
My parents are Chinese immigrants, and definitely not the type to google name meanings when deciding what to call their firstborn child. In fact, they chose Erin Lynn Ye because it sounded like the Chinese name they gave me first - Ye An Ling. I was actually almost named Anne, and I think as a kid I would have wanted that name over my own, but my mom chose Erin because she thought Anne was too boring. It ended up being the right choice, because the an (安) in my Chinese name means peace. So, I guess in a roundabout sort of way, my parents chose my name for its Greek meaning.
Funnily enough, delving into Greek mythology and exploring classical languages is what really sold me on my own name. If you search “Erin Ye,” you’ll find a few of my pictures and those of other girls who share my name, but you’ll also find tons and tons of pictures of video game characters. They’re based on the erinyes from the Odyssey, the goddesses of vengeance who bring houses to ruin and terrorize the hero Odysseus on his perilous journey back home.
As previously mentioned, English is my parents’ second language, they’re both mathematicians, and neither of them have ever read a page of the Odyssey. So it’s just a tiny, miraculous coincidence that they named me after some of the oldest villains of the Western world. I am both peace and rage, tranquility and the creatures known to destroy it. And I love that.