What’s in a name?

I have always felt a strange sense of responsibility regarding the naming of a life.  I have long felt that a name can have so much to do–for good or ill–in the formation of a life.

My dad used to tell us about ways that children made fun of his name when he was a child.  I also remember that my brother’s name was one that was used jokingly.  Thankfully, my name’s pronunciation was difficult enough to say, much less make fun of, which I’m sure saved me some sort of embarrassment in one way while creating it in another.  Oh, well.

Still, as we brought each of our children into this world, I felt a powerful need to create a strong force around them with regard to their names.  I wonder if I have taught them enough about the reasons and feelings around the names they have been given.  I wanted them to each have powerful and purposeful names and to know the meaning of their names…but, like all lessons in life, I’m sure this one’s presence in their minds waxes and wanes like the phases of the moon.

                                       From here

Similarly, when I write, I find myself struggling again to name a character…to summon the forces of nature and writing to again create a life.  Sometimes I find myself, though I am past searching for names of lives that will come from my own womb, pouring over baby name books, searching for the name to fit the character I see in my mind’s eye.  I still feel a sense of ownership with these characters, who in some way become real to me, just as Jane Eyre, Clare Abshire, and Anastasia Steele are real to so many (I recognize that these women are oddly grouped…sorry).  I was also reminded this weekend as my husband and I attended the latest film from a franchise older than I am what is in a name…the faces may have changed several times over the years, but when a British accent speaks the name, “Bond…James Bond,” people listen.  His name has a power.

So, do you know why your name is what it is?

Did you ever want to change it?

And what have you done with your name to make it yours?

Published by


Writer, freelance editor, mother, artist...I wear a few other hats, as well, of course. :)

6 thoughts on “What’s in a name?”

  1. I was named after people in my family. I didn’t like my name when I was younger, but I love it now. I don’t meet many Elizabeths. I always introduce myself as Queen Elizabeth. Everyone remembers me. I use word association & it works well, but all the Afghan workers just call me Queen. 🙂

    1. I love the way you introduce yourself! 🙂 Elizabeth is a wonderful name…one I have loved and am attached to for personal reasons. You are Queen!!!! Thanks for your comment!

  2. I agree with you that names seem to be important in defining who we are. My name was chosen from a newspaper. Not very romantic. I hated it for most of my childhood because it was different…. But now we’ve reconciled 🙂

    1. Your name is beautiful! Thanks for sharing. My name was a character in a play (one I have never read and don’t even know where to find), but I have grown to love and appreciate it because it is different. I love that you have “reconciled!” 🙂

      1. Can’t stand it. Would have renamed myself many many times if I could. My old journal has many suggestions. I go by a nickname. I started trying to change it in 4th grade. It took years to get classmates, longer for family (my grandma never did catch on). It helps when others understand. I have an uncle who asked us to call him by his middle name, when I pointed that out, he changed what he called me much more quickly. I finally realized in high school that I called myself Shelly (in my head) and that was a huge step towards “reconciling”. I still hate calling/going to the doctor’s office because they do not catch on to nicknames.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s