That’s Not My Name!
“Find your name, And buried treasure.” – Neil Gaiman
Yes, is my answer to the Daily Prompt’s question – Do you know the meaning of your name, and why your parents chose it?
My mother told me, repeatedly, the story of how I got my name. I think I was supposed to be grateful to her for the hard task I forced her to endure by needing to name the child she chose to have.
She was about to give birth, and needed to come up with a name for me ASAP or there would be a blank where my name went on the birth certificate which would probably be filled in with the word ‘baby’. My mother did not like babies, so her child being called Baby was unacceptable.
So she scoured her mind for some possible options. Since I was the offspring of two different countries with different languages, my name would have to translate well. Most of the names my mother liked did not sound so appealing to her sensitive ears when translated.
Luckily for her, there was a popular song on the radio all about a girl with a name. Matter solved. So many parents at that time solved the problem of finding a name for their female child in exactly the same way. This detail which she overlooked, would later haunt my mother as she prided herself on being unique and original.
My father was not interested in naming me. He was not interested in giving titles to his paintings either, he left that to the galleries and collectors to do. Once a piece was done, it was history to him, and he moved on to the next creation. His creations did not need names. Neither did I. I had his surname, what more did I or any of his works need. He was the only one with a name worth knowing.
And no, is my answer to – Do you think it suits you?
For as long as I have known my name, I have disliked it. Not the name itself, it’s quite nice as a name and suits many who have it, and there are many millions with the name, but the way it felt when I wore it. It just did not suit or fit me.
It is the sort of name which belongs to someone who wears flowing dresses and long plaited tresses with flowers woven in. A romantic soul, prone to faint into the arms of a knight in shining armor, and request assistance with slaying a pesky man-eating, fire-breathing dragon.
I have always worn trousers, they are more practical as they mimic my legs, and I like to do things which would be difficult in skirts and flowing dresses, and I’ve mostly always had short hair (except in recent years when I have allowed it to grow long).
I’m not a romantic soul, though I have indulged in romance once in a while, mostly it is too soppy sweet for my salt loving palate.
I have fainted, not deliberately, and no knight caught me, in fact I chipped my front tooth during one rather dramatic swoon when my mouth hit the edge of a chair.
And I deal with fire-breathing man-eating dragons on my own with weaponry sourced through dodgy dealers in magical slaying devices. Not really, I just use my rapier wit and steely determination, or sometimes I just play dead and they go away smugly victorious.
Most of the mythical reptiles in my life have been in the guise of people who supposedly cared about me, often in hero charade, but their professions of love were accompanied by actions of hate and words of hurt.
My name was mostly said with anger. In fact whenever it was used, it was done so because I was about to be ripped into… or manipulated in some way which felt much the same, otherwise my name was seldom used, terms of belittling endearment were used instead. So, I don’t like it. Never have, and never will.
As I passed through the years I tried in vain to find, searching hither and thither, a name which suited me, or as I called it ‘my real name’. One which spoke of me about me, not of who others thought I was or wanted me to be to suit them.
I could never find it…
Then one day a kind soul with a gentle heart who knew of my plight, and who genuinely cared for me, both through words and actions aligned, gave me a nickname…
Which I loved, which I fell madly in love with and still continue to love, the love growing stronger as the name strengthens me. It spoke to me of me, it fit, suited me, and because it suited me it gave me room to grow, and change, and evolve, and discover latent talents and abilities and to pursue passions which that other name never allowed for, which the other name restricted and repressed and crushed…
It became my magical name, the one which I hid from the world, kept secret, a treasure to hold in my cave, to keep it safe from those who might want to destroy it, me, and everything which I hold dear.
It is where my power lay… and lies… like a spell, a talisman, an orb of infinite energy…
It is the name which you are not supposed to share with others or you give them dominion over you. Well… I was never good at following rules, but very good at breaking them, or bending them to suit my way of doing things.
It is the name which I use on the internet. So you now have dominion over me… good luck with that! I used to use my other name… it stopped me from expressing myself as I am, and always worried about others, how they perceived me and such things which the real me is interested in, but does not let them get in the way of me being me, because that is the whole point of being who we are. To be who we are as we are… let others make of it what they will, perhaps it will inspire them to be who they are too.
This name means more to me than the one I was given because one had to be given and so one was plucked from the airwaves of a radio.
When I gave myself this name, the right to embrace it and be it… I gave birth to myself. I had found my real name and thus I had finally found myself. I created a new and true identity, one more real than any I had ever had, a new path to follow, and new destiny to explore and discover. I took the power back from all those who had taken it without asking because all they had to do was use the other name and I lost any power I had to them, because that was their name, to use as they pleased, it belonged to them and so did I as long as that was my name. That’s not my name.
I have been called many names by many people… That’s not my name.
I really don’t mind what people call me, it’s too much of a distraction to mind about such things. I’ve been around people who deliberately forget your name or get it wrong just to prove to you what assholes they are. Some people are very considerate, and know how important people consider their names to be, I appreciate it, but really… when people ask me what name I like to go by… I shrug… you choose. What name do you want to call me?
The only name which matters to me is the one which I call myself, for that is… That is my name.
And yes, you could probably easily guess what my other name, my given by others name is… but why? It’s just a game… That’s not my name!
The Ting Tings – That’s Not My Name