Tuesday, October 9, 2007

What’s in a name?

I have a friend who recently changed her name. I've heard of people doing this but never knew anyone who actually did it. She said that her name never accurately reflected who she was and that made me pause.

We're given our names before we have our personalities. How many times have we met someone whose name keeps escaping us because they don't "look" like that name? If they changed it, it'd make it easier to remember, sure, but what about their personality or looks? That'll stay the same. I read somewhere that "Cameron" means "crooked nose". Does that doom Cameron to look like his name? I'm not sure.

My dad recently told me that he and my mum were thinking of naming me Tara. Would I be a different person as Tara? Do I even look like a Tara? I sure don't feel like a Tara. And what if I chose my new name as an adult? Would I expect people who've known me for 40 years to immediately call me by my new name? Or just introduce myself to new people by my new name? Would I even answer to it in public if called? Hang up on people who asked for the new name on the phone because I forgot that it was me?

Growing up I never liked the name Karen. I was always one of a hockey team of Karens in every grade in school. I hated that but got used to it. Now I actually like it. No Tara for me. No offense to any Taras out there but it's just not me. I kinda like Ivy, though. I don't feel like an Ivy, though.

When Audrey was named I wanted her to be Isabel so bad that I called her that for a week. But Audrey stuck and now I can't even imagine her being Isabel.

In my bar days I'd give a fake name all the time. "Olivia Davis" after my two favourite actresses back then... Olivia DeHavilland and Bette Davis. I'd give it out and think "they must know I'm lying... that so isn't me". But they never did.

In my travels, I've met 2 women with really cool names: Violet Greene and Kat Wolf. Both are married names and I can bet that they were thrilled to take their hubby's last names. Well, my name is pretty run-of-the-mill... boring, even. But I wouldn't give it up or change it for anything. Within reason.

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