Umlauts and My Hungarian-American IdentityPosted: July 27, 2010
Now that True/Slant is winding down and will cease to exist and I go looking for another website where I can spew my half-hearted written agenda, I have arrived at the very important decision of using the umlauts in my name.
Fruzsina comes from the greek goddess “Euphrosyne” but in Communist countries, being named after a god is frowned upon, so the “eu” was chopped off.
Eördögh alludes to the Hungarian word for little devil– like a tricky imp, a demon faun of the lesser order. I will continue to pronouce Eördögh in the weird French way that I do, because I don’t want to listen to Americans attempt to roll their “r’s”.
The use of umlauts was a long time coming… and friends have been pushing this for a while, but I held strong for many years. I kept telling people I didn’t use them because I was lazy… too lazy to cut and paste, too lazy to convert my keyboard. Whatever excuse there was, I claimed it. I resisted the change. I’ve gone through multiple identity crises in my time, and my Hungarian identity was one of them (I’ve felt “not American enough” while also not being “Hungarian enough”). Maybe I am not as Hungarian as I would like, (my Hungarian spelling resembles an Elementary student’s), but I am working on it.
But the embracing of the umlauts in my name is just part of a larger initiative to be more comfortable with who I am. In the 4th or 5th year of my existence, I began telling people my name was Gina. It was easy for Americans to say. I kept “Gina” until college, where I had a similar “f*ck it” realization I can only assume “Barry” Obama also went through. My name is Fruzsina Eördögh… not Gina. I am not a dime-a-dozen. That whole anglicized “Phillips-Henderson” fluff was not meant to be either.
I’ve tried to incorporate the politeness and seriousness of the Midwestern demeanor, but I find my New York City self popping up more times than I’d like. Maybe it is time I embraced the brat. The rise in brassiness can be attributed to Ke$ha (who stole my hairstyle), but at least my umlauts make me unique. I’ve failed to quit smoking (a work in progress), like millions of Americans, but at least my umlauts make me a winner. I have yet to reign in my depression, and that again makes me like millions of Americans across the country. I will try some sort of part-time acting career (I’ve secretly wanted to be an actress all my life), but that again, makes me narcissistic like everyone else in Gen Y. When I think of the future, I am hopeful, again making me like every cookie-cutter young person in the United States today. Except they don’t have umlauts.
Suck it, America… what ever it is!