Monday, May 24, 2010

Naming Ourselves

When I was in Seattle in March, I found myself in a used bookstore (actually I found myself in several) and this book was on the shelf at the bottom of a stack of other books. Of course, I have a thing for strong women and pirates, so snatched it up for myself.

As I read, I discovered that it was not just a history of Grace O'Malley, the pirate queen, but an amazing mixture of history, mythology and legend, and travel memoir. I now want to research more legends of sea witches who called in the wind for sailors--for a price. I would love to have a supposed sea witch as a character in a novel.

However, the part of the book that I found the most fascinating is that the author decided on her journey to change her name. At the beginning of her trip, she was Barbara Wilson. After her trip, she changed her last name to Sjoholm (sjo-sea; holm-island). Throughout the book, she ponders whether or not to change her name and what she should to change it to if she decided to change her name.

I began to muse about women and our names. There is the name we were given at birth; we weren't really given a choice in this name. We were given little more choice, if and when we got married, and if we chose to take our husbands' last names. We're given the name Mom and, later, Grandma.

We choose our own names when we choose the email addresses for our personal accounts and usernames for websites we use. Those of us who are writers have the chance to decide if we want to use our given names for our writing or if we will use pen names.

But what about other names we give ourselves through our jobs or other activities we take upon ourselves?

Teacher. Writer. Artist. Creative entrepeneur. (I'm putting it out the Universe!)

Then there are the negative names we give ourselves:

Slacker. Packrat. Inadequate mother. Sloppy housekeeper.

I think it's easier to give ourselves negative names, or to accept these names when they're given to us by others, than it is to give ourselves positive names that will help usour growth instead of hindering it.

So, today, I'm going to give myself these names:

Fulfiller of dreams. Believer in opportunities. Lover of all people.

What are some names you would like to give yourself today?


amanda said...

How about Inspirer to My Friends?
It would fit nicely.

Anndrea said...

Family Freak (freak in the good sense), husband adorer, Empathizer, lover of all things good.

Liza said...

How about: "Stronger Than I Think,"

Write Chick said...

I want Dream Seeker, Daredevil, and Ms. Hopes-a-lot.
I liked this post about names. I love when something I read really makes me think about things differently, and this one definitely did. Thanks!

vintagesusie & wings said...

Hope you had a lovely holiday weekend. Your blog is lovely, I look forward to following on your life's adventures!
Smiles Friend,

Anonymous said...

Inspired by Indian American's descriptive names, I will call myself Long-in-Tooth Short-in-Memory. Says it all.

You, my friend, are one fine writer!

Nicole said...

I want my name to be magic maker. For birthdays and holidays and such I bend over backwards to keep magic alive for my kids. I WANT their lives to feel fantastical. I yearn to take them to Disneyland before they are too old because I want them to BELIEVE in magic.

But I also want to make magic in my own life, too. Not just the Santa Clause or Mickey Mouse kind of magic but the kind of magic that helps us find our bliss. So I'm putting it out there! MAGIC MAKER!!!!!

julietk said...

Maker of many new friends seems a good name today :-)
So many Mad tea Parties I am working my way through the list when I have time to browse :-) You are invited to tea and to join my giveaway,every days is an unbirthday, there is still time :-)