Wednesday, January 14, 2015

New Place, New Name

I never liked my name.  My mother would tease me as a child that I was named after a country western singer.  My father can't give me a good reason for why or how they picked my name.  I know that if I'd been a boy I would have been named Jonathan.  Four tries later when he finally got a son that is the name he used.  My next sister down has a beautiful name. It is a combination of my father's parents names.  Most of her life we called her by the nickname Joli which means pretty in French.  She is beautiful so it is sort of appropriate.  We also sometimes call her Jo and if you've seen her rock a James Dean shirt you'd understand why that name also totally fits her.  My second sister down is named after my father's dead sister and my dead grandfather.  Her name is also beautiful and sad.  My grandmother lost two daughters to childhood illnesses.  My sister's only annoyance is the fact that people are always trying to add an e to her nickname.  No e please.  My third sister down is named after our Nana and my aunt.  She has a love hate relationship with her name.  My Grandmother was the most awesome lady around.  I mean she was just great.  She was loud and soft, full of hugs and great stories.  She had an adventurous spirit and pushed the boundaries of what was expected of her.  I miss her everyday and while her name is truly sort of ear sore...think one of those thirties names that no one really mourned when they lost Gertrude, she is an amazing woman to be named after.  My first brother is named after his father and grandfather.  My next brother is named after this kid I had a crush on in high school...which to be honest, I'm sorry Danny that is kind of a lame story so you're sort of in the same boat I'm in.  I'm named after my mother, at least in my middle name, but my first name is just this anomaly.  I've asked my father about it repeatedly and he claims he has no idea why he choose it.  It ticks me off to know end.  I personally think if you have to be saddled with a name that makes every top stripper name's list that you should at least have a good story to go along with your name.  I don't have a story.  I just have a father who picked a name that he and no one in his family can even say properly (it's just not a name that transfers over to Spanish well) So every time we get ready to move I start having this debate on the leaving the name behind.

When I was in my early twenties I took this very seriously and actually had a list that I slept with for about a month trying to narrow down my choices.  Now in my mid thirties I just think about moving to my mother's name (my own middle name)...or at least the nick-name associated with this.  I realize there is sort of a ridiculous futile nature to this.  When I was a young teen my aunt Gay asked to start being called Laurie and just recently I told my mom that Laurie wanted to see me while I was home and she asked who I was talking about and then when I said "Gay," she was like, "Oh yeah that would be fun".  A similar thing happened with my sister in law.  About twelve years ago she informed the family that she was no longer going to go by Kiera, but instead wanted to be called Marie.  The change was relatively easy for me because I hadn't been a member of the family that long, but it took my husband and father in law years to call her Marie and even now her grandmother refuses.

I don't know that I'd be as serious about it.  I mean if someone still called me by given name I'd answer but in six months I'm leaving this state. I'll be signing up for a new bank account, getting a new license, meeting a new church, a new gym, making a new friend group and so the chance is here, possibly the last one I'm going to have in my life to change what I introduce myself as and what I'm called by all the new people we meet.  So once again I'm seriously considering just showing up in our new town and introducing myself as....Beth.  What do you think?  Better or Worse?


  1. Andrew has this friend Ross/Gene. He was Ross the whole time he was growing up but he came home from his mission he was Gene (Eugene, I think...). It was so weird because we went on calling him Ross but his wife was calling him Gene. I think he's back to Ross full time now (but I'm not really sure). One of those names is his first name, the other is his middle name.

    My cousin Mindy asked us to call her Melinda when I was around 7 or 8. I had no idea it was even the same name! I thought it was weird until I knew Mindy was a nickname.

    My Aunt Sara used to be named Leslie. She got it legally changed at some point in her adult life.

    We have a friend named Alan who went his whole childhood as Taylor.

    But I'm really not sure I could ever get used to calling you anything my sake, just keep it. ;)

  2. Whoa, your blog looks totally different. Did you change it or is my computer acting weird?

    Anyway, I enjoyed this post. I don't know anyone who changed her name a great deal besides a friend Jodi, who wanted to be Jordana after graduation from high school. I do have an online friend whose 15 year old daughter legally changed her name from Suha to Siobhan since her mom kept saying she wished she had a daughter named Siobhan.

    I like Beth a lot, but I think your first name suits you. Glenda, right? :) No really, I actually know a few ladies around your age named (insert country music star name) so I guess it was just a popular name at that time.

    In my immediate family, I don't have a family connection to my first or middle name unless you go way, way back (like the 1600s) and you find a Susanna on my mom's father's side. But my siblings either have a first and/or middle name honoring someone in the family.

    I enjoy name talk. Good luck on your move!

  3. I've gone by my middle name for pretty much all my life. My parents always called me by my middle name. I think it was because it was short and easy. Haha. Then when I was about to get married, I would have people call me by my first name in institute or at a new job because they always ask for a first name but hardly ever asked, "What name do you go by?" sort of thing. Those times were mostly just an experiment anyway. I would answer to both names.

    A lot of people mispronounce my first name so when someone said it right (on the first try!!!), I thanked them. It was so nice to hear someone say it right. I mean, it's not a hard name to pronounce but people just say one syllable differently and it sort of bugs me. I can understand why people would pronounce it that way though.... So I forgive them.

    Do whatever makes you comfortable. Names are interesting. Especially ones from different countries that you don't hear very often. My parents are from SE Asia so it's interesting to hear that names are unisex in Laos and that "gai" (which translates to "chicken") is considered beautiful there.

  4. How did I miss this one before? I was named after my cousin Myrna who died of polio, and my middle name after my sister's mentally handicapped little sister. I thought that my parents like me much to name me after a dead person and someone who was not all there. I eventually learned how much they LOVED those two people, and that they were honoring me with their names. Which doesn't mean that I love either name, honestly.

    I use Molly as my alias when I am ordering food. Because If I say Myrna, the one taking the order can't spell it, and no matter how it is spelled, the one calling out the name can't read it. My friends and I had a good laugh this summer while traveling to LA. When we stopped in Primm for food, I said Molly, Julie said Annie, and Claudine exclaimed "I use Annie too!" We laughed so hard because none of us used our real name. Our students thought we were crazy...they all used their real name. Even though Caryn had to correct them when they wrote down Karen. Names are weird and wild and wonderful.

  5. That should have been "DIDN'T like me much."

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