Thu Oct 29 2020 04:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
When I think about my childhood, I think about Fargo, North Dakota, the first American state I lived in. I went to my first American school, where I developed my love for art. It was also where I found my name.
I woke up at 6:30 am every Saturday morning and snuck into my living room while my parents slept to watch cartoons and Power Rangers. Even being sleep deprived didn't keep me from my shows. Power Rangers Ninja Storm is where I met Tori. The first-ever female blue Power Ranger. My little girl mind was blown. She was a ninja, a waterbender, her color was my favorite color, and she was a girl! Finally seeing a girl not forced into traditional pink or yellow made a huge impact on me.
When my family and I moved to New Jersey from North Dakota, my 11-year-old self decided to rebrand. The first week of school, my art teacher asked if I had a nickname since my real name was complicated. I thought about it for a few seconds and decided to give myself the nickname, Tori.
It took some time adjusting to being called Tori. There were times when people would call me and I wouldn't respond because I forgot that I did a whole name change. Still, my confidence levels were pretty high back then, so I thought anything was possible. I grew into my new name.
As an adult, life feels more limiting. We have to maintain a sense of normalcy, so doing something like renaming myself now seems childish. I think art is my way of dealing with the frustrations and limitations of reality. Reality is very restrictive, but with art you can make the impossible real.
There are times when I channel my younger self, a version of me that’s buried deep. When I’m with my friends, I see that version of me come out more often. I get loud and obnoxious, and my confidence is pretty high. The more I surround myself with people I love, the more my inner child comes out.
A few years ago, I went back to Bangladesh with my family and found out my mom's nickname was also Tori, which means boat in Bengali. People told my mom she was ‘tor tori,’ too energetic and always on the go. Similar to how I am now.
I think Tori and I were meant to be.