What’s in a Name?
“Are you going to use your name?” an old friend asks me over breakfast when I tell her I’m starting a blog.
“Oh, I get it,” I respond. “Due to privacy concerns, right? I’ll use my first name only, at least in the beginning.”
“Yeah, but I mean you’re going to use ‘Becky’?” she persists, adding two heaping tablespoons of brown sugar to her oatmeal.
“Huh? Um, yeah. Of course. Either that or Moon Unit. I haven’t yet decided.”
“Funny,” she retorts without a hint of mirth. She’s immune to my snark. “I’m just wondering if maybe you should go with Rebecca or Becca, or something like that.”
The thing is, I’m not Rebecca or Becca. I’m Becky or Beck, preferably the latter. I’m not sophisticated enough to pull off Rebecca. I wash boys’ underwear and bake chicken for a living. Neither of those job responsibilities requires nor supports a highbrow moniker.
Honestly, I tried Rebecca on for size a dozen or so years ago when I began my career as a freelance marketing consultant, and ended up getting tongue-tied while answering my own phone. “Hello. This is Beckbecca.” What the?
Eventually, I gave up on it. Sometimes a name just doesn’t suit.
My husband was born in former Yugoslavia, and was given the name, Jamin.
It’s not a name we’re used to here in the U.S., but it’s not such an oddity either when you look at it as the last half of Benjamin. Yep. See it hanging out there next to Ben? They’re really close. Best buddies.
It was the pronunciation, though, that really muddled things up as he and his family attempted to assimilate into our culture.
“Jamin”, went from being pronounced correctly as YAH-meen to a slightly Anglicized YAY-min to JAY-min or Jame for short (at which point I came on the scene) to plain old Jim after he got sick and tired of explaining the whos, whats and why-in-the-hecks of his birth name.
So now, high school buddies call him Yamin, long-term friends and family and I call him Jame or Jamin, which is what he says he prefers, while newer friends, acquaintances, neighbors, and work folks call him Jim.
It’s all a tad confusing. Yet, because of the many name changes in his life, he’s become very flexible. He’ll really answer to anything: Jim, Jimbo, Jimmy, Big Jim, J, Jame, Jamie, Jamin, Yamin, you name it.
Once I even called out, “Rufus!” and he actually looked at me.
Sure, perhaps it was because I was shouting some random name in our living room when only the two of us were sitting there, but my guess is he still would answer to it even in the crowded dairy section of Costco.*
He’s come to realize that a name doesn’t define who you are. Your words and actions and intentions, on the other hand, do.
Those are all that truly matter.
*Note to self: check out “Rufus Theory” when next purchasing vat of Greek yogurt with hubby in tow . . .