Wednesday, June 6, 2007

What's in a Name?

I changed my name 4 years ago after getting sick and having my life unalterably changed. I picked my new first name off the cover of a book I got at church. The author wrote about prosperity and ease, both of which I long(ed) for and I admired his message and his method. I took his name for my own. People who learn that I adopted this name look at my cross-eyed when I tell them my name was ___. You don't look like a ___. No, I don't. Not anymore.

My middle name used to be my mom's first name. I actually really liked that name and I'm not sure why I changed it except that I really liked the first letter of my prior first name too. My middle name is simple my initials, spelled out. Middle names often seem to be the name of some family member or ancestor that you want to honor. I supposed it just as valid to honor the person who carried me around for 26 years as the one who carried me for 9 months, so I saved a piece of my old name in the middle.

My last name was the middle name of my girlhood friend. Someone I called sister for a long time for lack of a better label. Honoring our relationship, but also how her (now my) name rolled melodically with the new first name. It sounded good together.

A patient told me the other day that she was thinking of taking my name. I'm only 30 now and I feel too young to have people naming after me, but I think she just likes the sound. I suppose if music can be a religious experience, the music of a beautiful name can be as well. I certainly love the sound of people using my name. It's not the beauty or music, nor the Persian meanings I attach to the word of my name, nor the mystery of it, but the simple joy of being recognized as a unique and irreplaceable human being, different than who I used to be.

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