If Lost, Return to…

May 7th, 2008

me…but who am I? I have a “real” first name that I never use because it’s a boy’s name and my mother never intended it to be used. I have a middle name which was picked out of a medical journal along with my first name. I have a nickname, which my mother wanted to call me all along, but thought she needed a “real” name to derive it from. I also have a hard-to-pronounce maiden name (what a friend refers to as her slave name). And I have/use my ex-husband’s last name, which means nothing to me except that my kids also have that last name. I’ve noticed that rich people sometimes have more than 3 names because they have more houses I guess. And the girls often have their mothers’ last names as first names, because I reckon it’s something the lower orders don’t do. My little brother only has a first and last name–no middle name–I think our mother just got tired of it all. Tired of having babies, tired of our father, tired of trying. I mean, who couldn’t come up with a middle name? You have to be really really tired. I don’t think my maiden name or my married name say anything about who I am. But I’ve noticed that when I fall madly, dramatically in love with a man, I always think about taking their last name. I hate it that I’m such a patriarchal pushover, even subliminally. I doubt those guys think about taking my maiden name. Because we only have other men’s names, and what guy wants to take another guy’s name? It would weaken them. So why doesn’t it weaken women to borrow a name?

7 Responses to “If Lost, Return to…”

  1. Japee says:

    My father gave all of his sons elaborate names while none of his daughters rated a middle name. He assumed we’d marry and keep our maiden name as a middle name.

    Then he raised in the midst of a matrilineal tribe where every woman kept her name, children took the mother’s name and the youngest daughter inherited. I never needed that middle name after all.

  2. frida says:

    so you must be very well-balanced when it comes to the name thing. Do you think one’s name(s) influence one’s character?

  3. Alexandrialeigh says:

    I think one’s name influences one’s character. In fact, I think one reason I’m fascinated by words is because I have a first name that is 10 letters long, a nickname that has three vowels and two silent consonants (that no one can correctly spell or pronounce) and a last name that no one can spell or pronounce, either. My name was the first word that fascinated me…and it’s been a love affair ever since. I wonder what I would’ve grown up to become if I’d been named something plain.

  4. Katie says:

    My grandmother gave both her sons the same middle name, and it’s a strange one–Ensign–I never got the chance to ask her why she did that.

  5. Japee says:

    Perhaps it does. I may try to live a more interesting life to make up for my stodgy matronly name.

    I found this recent
    about how a name changed a life.

  6. eb says:

    well I’m calling you Brilliant Heart…

    xox – eb.

  7. Anonymous says:

    To Japee, That was an incredible post about having a black name. Thanks for sharing the link.