Say Your Name: Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?
Much like my conception, my name was not planned.
In fact, my parents were so ambivalent about my impending birth, they didn’t give my name much thought until they were on the way to the hospital.
My dad said, “We should probably come up with a name. What about ‘Jean?'” My mom said, “‘Ok.'” And that was that.
In my parents’ defense, I was their fifth child. They had just done the whole dog-and-pony show 15 months prior and were running out of options. They were just tired, the poor things.
I felt that way naming our second daughter. With our first daughter, it was as though we were picking a Pope. My husband and I donned red robes, put potential names on ballots, burnt the castoffs until one was finally chosen and then sent the final name out into the ether in a puff of white smoke.
By the time we were pregnant with our second child we just didn’t have the energy. We gave her a name my mother always liked and called it done.
So I can only image how my parents felt naming their fifth child.
They were so tired, they didn’t realize they had already used the name as my sister’s middle name until after the ink had dried on my birth certificate.
So, in a way, my name was the first hand-me-down I got from my sister.
I’m sure if she had the capacity for deep thought at age 15 months, my sister would have rolled her eyes and said, “I’m going to have to share everything with her now, aren’t I?” And the answer would have been yes.
I have never liked my name.
You could say it sounds vaguely French, but I grew up next door to a Danielle, so …
Also, it’s an old lady name and I was born in an era where it was not trendy or cool to give your daughters old lady names.
Sure, it was different, but it’s like how having an eye patch is different.
I wanted to be a Jessica. Or a Sarah. Or a Sara. Or a Heather.
I remember when the movie Heathers came out, I instantly associated with Winona Ryder’s character since she was not a Heather. She was a Veronica. She wasn’t a Jean, but still…
It was tough not to want to be Winona Ryder in the 90s, wasn’t it?
Maybe hating your name is in your DNA.
I recently asked my oldest daughter, Amelia, – you know, the one who’s name we put so much effort into choosing – if she liked her name. She glared at me.
“No. It’s tough to say. It has too many vowels.”
Huh. Well, f*ck me gently with a chainsaw.
Say Your Name