This is not the first time this has happened. You came home the other day, having shrugged off another stupid attempt to annoy you. It had centred on your name.
I’ll accept this. You don’t have what’s traditionally considered a “girl’s name”. But it is the name of a rather famous actress, and it’s a name that was chosen for you with love, long before you opened your eyes to this big wide world you were born into one stormy evening.
We’ve spoken through this topic many times, and by now, you know all of my automatic responses and answers you can pass on to the next silly buffoon who thinks he/she can take a jab at you for having an “unconventional” name.
Instead, today, I’m going to tell you a secret – I too, for a long time, did not like my name. When I was very little, I couldn’t pronounce it, so shortened it to a name that would end up being my family nickname. Nowadays, it’s something very few people call me (and heaven help someone who unauthorised attempts to use it). Now, as an adult and in a professional sense, I often use a more traditional, shortened version of my name.
But, at school, I was always internally upset at the sheer length of my name. By how many people had ‘cooler’ names than I did. By how many people I would discover that had the same name as me. I felt slightly affronted by it, because my name ended up being something common. In my teens, when the Internet became a de rigueur part of my life, it irritated me even more, because I suddenly realised how many people out there had “my” name. To this point, I even ‘rebelliously’ elected to have “another name”, something that many of my mates responded to, and a particular set of them still refer to me by that name. Nowadays I giggle at that, but it is a sweet reminder of the journey I’ve had with my own name.
As an adult, I like my name. The way it rounds in my mouth, and the way it shapes itself in the mouths of people who call out for me, who love me, and who I love. I now revere it, for its regal connotations are apparent to me, and it’s no longer something I shy away from. I’m proud of my name, chosen by my parents (thanks to some curtains) and it’s symbolic of their love for me. I feel the strength of it, and claim it for my own self.
I don’t expect you to accept this right now. Heck, I don’t even expect you to experience this journey right now. You have your own journey to traverse with your name. You have a whole lifetime to experience with this name. How you choose to define, or not define yourself in line with your name, is something only you can do. You can change it one day, if you like. You can elect another name and use it, try it on for size and then try another one if you like. I did it, and so can you.
I came home to my name when I was ready. Nowadays, I do define myself by my name, but that’s the very unique definition I’ve carved for myself, that’s remarkably different to the ones the world seems to have created. I’ll support you in every definition you choose, and every single one you ditch.
This is your journey, darling. Your name, your definition. Don’t worry your head about someone who can’t find anything wrong with you, so he has to pick on your name.