By any other name

What it boils down to is this: they ran out of ideas.

I’m the youngest of six kids, and my parents had simply used up all the names they could think of. So they asked my grandma for ideas. She had been watching a mini series and really liked the lead actress, who went by Piper Laurie*. That is why my first given name is Piper.

I don’t like my name. I never have. As a child it was more or less fine, except for the fact that I had the repeated misfortune of being in the same class as a kid my age named Peter. Peter and I both were teased about our pecks of pickled peppers, and our pizza place. I didn’t like being teased, no one does. While I know that lots of people are teased about their names, I still think I was teased worse than most simply because my name was so unusual that it attracted more attention. To this day I hate telling people my name because it always elicits a comment of some sort.

As an adult I just don’t think my name fits me, and I feel like it skews people’s perceptions of me. The most common response when I introduce myself is “What a cute name!” And they’re right. It is a cute name. But I don’t especially care to be thought of primarily as cute. I don’t have a cute personality, I’m not bubbly or happy go lucky. In a lot of ways I’m very dour and tend to take myself far too seriously. I’ve often wondered if I’m overcompensating for my name- I think that people expect me to be fun, bubbly, and cheerful, so I overdo the seriousness just to counteract the expectations. I think I would have been much happier if Piper were my nickname, and I had an adult name that I could have grown into. I’ve toyed with idea of changing my name, though at this point it feels like it is too late.

Certainly in an ideal world the collection of sounds a person uses to refer to themselves wouldn’t color the way others respond to that person. But this isn’t an ideal world, and connotations, first impressions, and stereotypes very much shape the way we see the world and people around us, often in unfair ways.

So much of feminist discourse about names focuses on last names- whether or not a woman did or didn’t, should or shouldn’t change her name upon marriage. I can’t help but think that we’re overlooking something important. The names we give our daughters (and sons) will shape the way they move through the world. When we give them cutesy names we shouldn’t be surprised when no one is inclined to take them and their ideas very seriously. We also shouldn’t be surprised when they take themselves less seriously.

*Interestingly enough, Piper Laurie is just a screen name, her real name is Rosetta Jacobs. For some reason that really bothers me.

Starfoxy

Starfoxy is a fulltime caretaker for her two children.

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36 Responses

  1. jks says:

    I remember vividly reading a feminist article about names when I was in college in the early 90s. That is why my girls do NOT have names that end in y/ie sound. It really struck me powerfully that grown women should not stick with names or nicknames that boys outgrow when they turn into men. Johnny somehow always becomes John, but Becky is Becky forever. And if you name her Lacey that childlike ending stays forever.
    I have no idea what to think of the name Piper, though. I guess I’ll consider you the expert.

  2. anita says:

    I’ve dealt with the fact that people sometimes expect a hispanic Anita and are surprised than I’m a freckled redhead, and quite like the fact that my name comes from a combination of my two grandmothers’ names: Anna + Unita= Anita. However, having prayerfully picked meaningful, ancestral names for my kids, I’m a little dismayed that my 11 year old is currently having issues with hers. It’s such a big decision and names do influence our lives in many ways. Then again, we go through different name stages–nicknames, married names, titles, Sister so and so, new names, probably different pre- and post-mortality names–that hopefully it will all work out. I know several Pipers and haven’t thought about it being tricky, but there are different facets that appear through the years–like my friend Monica who liked her name just fine until it became a household scandal in the Clinton era… Best of luck with whatever you decide!

  3. Ana says:

    My daughter’s name is Zora. People meet her and say “Why on earth did you do that!?” And she does have the strong personality to match the name. I hope both will serve her well.

    And Anita, I share your problem with people’s expectations that I’m Latina!

  4. EmilyCC says:

    Great post, Starfoxy! I need to send it to my husband who has wanted to name our first son, “Sierra,” and our second son, “Thor.” He’s never quite understood the societal implications of choosing a girl’s name for a boy or naming a kid after a god. It took a lot of convincing to make him understand that it wasn’t fair to our kids for us to saddle them with names that defied societal norms.

  5. Deborah says:

    I hope Zora falls in love with Zora Neale Hurston’s work someday — what a great birthright to share that name!

    Okay, so I love my name. If it weren’t my name, I’d name a daughter Deborah. Poet, prophetess, judge. What’s not to love? But I think what I really love is that my dad made sure I KNEW I was named after a prophetess, to the point of becoming indignant when people slipped and called me Debby. Love my dad.

  6. Stephanie says:

    I think I have just repented of saying that I don’t think names really matter on Segullah. I will rephrase, “I don’t think that what you name your child really matters as long as it is not unusual enough to be embarassing to them”.

  7. Jenne says:

    I’ve had issue with my name for years. Being 1 of 7 Jennifers in a school of 100 is enough to really hate the name. It was the most popular name of the decade I was born in. How my name was spelled very much was related to the time of life I was in. My parents called me Jennie from the beginning and somewhere along the way I got the idea that the -ie ending was too little girl-ish and I needed to change the spelling. That was also my conformist period so I went with Jenny for a while. I moved away from my Calvin Klein/Mossimo/Jenny days and at the age of nine switched to Jenne. It breaks the rules of proper English pronunciation but with a last name starting with E, Jennee E seemed like too much to handle. I now love my name and feel its distinctive enough that I can respect the name my parents gave me while reminding them that they made a terrible mistake (really, you want to raise a daughter to be an individual and you give her the most popular name of the decade!?) I’ve had friends tell me that the spelling of my name changes the way they think of it and to them I’m not a Jenny/Jenni/Jennie. The pronunciation may be the same but to them, I’m someone a little different and it causes them to think I have a totally different name. I really appreciate that. Someday I may choose to pay to have my name legally changed. As of now though, Heavenly Father has sustained my desires to be known by him as Jenne and not the given name my parents gave me.

  8. spunky says:

    For what it is worth, I think the name Piper sounds powerful and mystical. But I am a history buff, so rather like unusual female names with historical, and especially wiccan roots. i.e. Piper (because I have looked up the name and hundreds others for my non-exsistant children)- is for pipe player, and makes me think of the mystical power of the Pied Piper myth, so the name makes me think of a (magically) powerful leader.

    I know this is not the subject of your post, but I think your name is fantastic. When people say, “what a cute name”- you can always respond with”I always thought it was a powerful name because of the wiccan popularity of the name”. If nothing else, that will shut them up.

  9. Dayna says:

    I agree with spunky above. The first thing I thought of was the Pied Piper and all the dramatic implications that go along with that haunting tale.

    I’m feeling a little guilty for calling my daughters “Maddie” and “Lily.” I hadn’t thought about the cutsie endings. They fit them now as little tiny people. I take consolation in the fact that their given names are “Madeleine” and “Lillian,” so they can fall back on them if they choose to.

  10. Jana says:

    I grew up in a family where everyone else had very common Biblical names. And then there was me: Jana (which, apparently, my mother chose from another baby girl in Utah that was named Jana just before I was born). I was also saddled with an impossible to spell and pronounce German surname. So I just hated having to give my name to anyone while I was growing up.

    However, I loved changing my surname to my spouse’s short French name (though really I might’ve ever-so-slightly preferred his mother’s gorgeous Japanese surname).

    Over the years I’ve toyed with using my middle name instead of my given name. But now that I know my given name is Czech, I’ve come to love that it has European origins that make me seem a wee bit exotic.

    Piper is a great name in so many ways, but I am sympathetic to your feelings about it not fitting you. If I were you, and my name didn’t fit me well, I would choose a new name for myself. Names are such powerful things. They do matter, very much.

  11. Starfoxy says:

    JKS- I think that really is my main point about the cutesy names. Certainly they fit children and are fine, but it is important to make sure they have an adult name to use. Go ahead and call your kids Bobby and Becky, but make sure their birth certificate says Robert and Rebecca on it.

    Deborah- I love your Dad too. What a wonderful way to support a daughter.

    Jenne- My older siblings have very common names (including a Jennifer) and so my parents were aware of the problems that come with having a common name. That is part of what they were trying to avoid in giving me an unusual name, though I think they overcompensated. There is a difference between uncommon names and unusual names. Maybe it is a fine distinction, but I think it is a fair one to make. I am glad to hear that you’ve received confirmation about your name. It is something I’ve been reluctant to pray about, as I think that it would be one of those things where the spirit says “figure it out for yourself.”

    Spunky- maybe that is exactly why I have a problem with my name. The only history and meaning I associated it with is that my grandma liked the actress and my parents thought the name was cute and unusual. If I had associated it with leadership, and mysticism I may have been more inclined to like the name despite the common perception of it.

    Jana- I’m also sympathetic to hard to spell names. No one seemed to believe that my name was really my name and it usually took three or four rounds of clarification and spelling it out. Now that my name is becoming more common this is less of a problem. One thing I do like about my name is that it was easy for me to learn to spell as a child.

  12. Jenne says:

    It really was an interesting experience to realize that Heavenly Father would communicate anything to me regarding my name. Like you I thought it was one of the “it mattereth not to me.” So when I did figure it out for myself, I got this feeling from the spirit that was like, “Well okay, that’s how it will be for me too.” I was really surprised by it. Now if it was that easy to convince the church and the government of that. 😉

  13. Emma says:

    I have only begun to appreciate my parents choice in naming me over the last few years. They named me Emma because they liked the name and it wasn’t very common then (now I’m always on my toes as every frantic mother at the park keeps yelling Emma! Emma! Come here!) but they gave me the middle name Jamie because it isn’t gender specific. My mother’s reasoning was that if the world was still as sexist as it was when she was choosing her career, I could switch to my middle name and be taken that little bit more seriously in a professional environment. I think it’s so sad that they had to consider sexism in the workplace when naming their daughter, but still, I’m so grateful that they thought about it at all.

  14. Jessawhy says:

    Starfoxy,
    Like other commenters, I’ve never thought of Piper as a cute name. Unusual, yes, but more edgy and new-agey, certainly not cutsie.

    I wonder if people have mixed reactions to your name but don’t want to be honest, so they say, “That’s so cute” as a filler. Maybe not.

    What have you thought of as alternatives? I can see you with a more distinguished, thoughful name. Let’s have a poll!

    My name was just as popular as Jenne’s, though I always loved it and keep it.

    I have noticed over the years I’ve been married that my husband’s nickname for me, Jess, has become my new name. I sign it, I expect friends and family to call me Jess and when they don’t I wonder why they’re being so formal. I don’t know when I changed my name, but it’s changed and I like it.

    My oldest child has a common name with an uncommon spelling. I think he likes it fine. My middle son had an uncommon name but now shares it with a lot of our friend’s children 🙂
    Our baby has the least common name Finley, but his nickname (Finn) is getting more popular. (It’s even a character on Glee, so it’s weird to see a teenager being called my 2 year old’s name). We named him that because it made us smile, and that may not be a good reason to name a child something. So I’m more worried about his name as an adult than the others.

    Anyway, I’m happy with their names now, but I’m interested to see how they play out as adults.

    On the topic of last names, I always struggled with my given last name (it had more vowels than consonants), it was unusual and uncommon. I was glad to trade it in for a shorter name that people could understand. Unfortunately, I still have to spell it for people. I didn’t expect that when I got married.

    Great post!

  15. Naismith says:

    I adore Piper Laurie, though!! What a great role model to still be acting after all these years.

    LDS connection: she played one of the grandparents in the late 1980s TV movie Go Toward The Light, about an LDS family who lost a son to HIV/AIDS.

  16. Caroline says:

    I must have read an article similar to what JKS referred to. I was pretty determined when I was choosing a name for my daughter to not go with something that ends in y/ie. (Not that I have a problem with those names, I think a lot of them are pretty –I just particularly wanted something for my daughter that sounded strong to me.) So I went with Alexandra. It’s a mouthful for a baby, but so far we’ve not shortened it. I hope she grows up to love it.

    I’ve been pretty happy with my own first name. It’s a classic, not too many others around with the same name. My biggest complaint is that it rhymes with my last name. Mom thought that was cute. I have always disliked my middle name – Esther – because that was a name that only grandmothers had. But I now don’t hate it as much. I appreciate the biblical Esther.

  17. Two of Three says:

    I am a Kathleen, which I love due to my Irish heritage. My dad and I have so few positive connections, but it is a tender spot for me that he named me for his Irish grandmother. Everyone in my world calls me Kathy, but my little sis, who has always called me Kat. If I had to do it again, I would go by Kat, as it feels good to me. And I am a cooler person through my sister’s eyes!

  18. Corktree says:

    We’ve given all our children older, more traditional names that I could picture them with as adults. But my husband got to choose the spelling, so some of them don’t *look* common at all. I like that, but I wonder if it will bother them when they get older and begin to notice that they are always misspelled. And with the last one, I’m having spelling regrets. It doesn’t look quite right to me, but it would be such a pain to change now…I hope it ends up not being a big deal.

    I like my own name, but whenever I meet someone else with it (not extremely common) I take stock of how I might appear to others based on my name.
    I do really think that not only do we grow into our names, but that they shape us somehow. Not only do they affect how other people perceive us, but I think they have some undetermined influence on US as well. There can be so much power in the way we hear sounds and in how certain audibilities and tones and frequencies affect our mood and perspective. Names should be no different. It makes me wonder about the language of God and what significance that will really have. It’s not just a matter of translation or dialect, so I think there is probably something very divine about the way we will audibly converse in the hereafter. Something that we can’t comprehend. But I imagine that names will be very important (especially when I consider temple rituals). Think about it, why was it so important that Christ was named Jesus?

    And I don’t think Piper is “cute”. My first impression was “opinionated”. 🙂

  19. EM says:

    I love Piper Laurie! When I was a kid I wanted to be called Piper. I have a very traditional name that is not heard very often – Eleanor. But for some reason people seem to have various ways of pronouncing the name which can be quite annoying. I love my name though, and people always seem to make some comment regarding it – never negative, thankfully. There are some parents who have named their kids without giving any thought as to how it will sound when they reach adulthood. A family in my area named all their sons after Book of Mormon characters. Would you believe Mahonri-Moriancumer – the brother of Jared? He was such a cute little boy, and I have to wonder what he thinks of his name today – he’s probably in his 40’s now. Thankfully all my children love their names, and my grandchildren have sensible names.

  20. Erin says:

    I was in an ensemble once with a girl named Peanut. Poor girl, every time the conductor tried to tell her something everyone chuckled a bit.

    My husband and I definitely felt the weight of responsibility when thinking of names for our son. It seemed so hard so saddle a little baby with a name, having no idea if it would fit them as they grew or if they’d like it as an adult. (We went with Gareth in the end.) My sister is expecting and they’re planning on Theodore, which I like for its many options. Teddy, Theo, and Ted in addition to the original. Pretty hard not to find something for whatever stage you’re at. If we ever have a girl, I’m thinking Rhiannon (it’s especially beautiful if you pronounce the Rh letter correctly), which also has a lovely nickname of Rhia.

  21. Alisa says:

    I have a name that’s hard to pronounce, so I’m called Alyssa about 80% of the time, Alisha about 5-10%, and my true pronunciation (sounds like uh-lisa) the rest of the time by strangers. Because teachers could never get it right, I spent most of elementary school going by plain Lisa.

    Except for how hard it is to pronounce/spell, I love my Hebrew name and its meaning (I believe it’s just a shortened version of Elisabeth). What I more resent is that I was never given a middle name. My parents said it was unnecessary because I’d use my maiden name when I was married – but they gave my brothers middle names (I still have a feminist bone to pick on that one). My surname is also a boy’s first name, so when I got married and took my husband’s last name, people ask me why my now-middle name is a boy’s first name. If I have a daughter, she will definitely be given both a beautiful first and middle name.

  22. Duerma says:

    Names for my children have been something that I have obsessed over since I was a little girl. I disliked my name (Beth) as a young girl, thinking it sounded ugly. I like it now, but I think that started my fixation on finding beautiful, unique names for all my children. I figure that it is the most tangible thing I will ever give them, and 500 years from now, when some descendant is doing genealogy, all he or she may have is the name.

    I’d like to share an interesting experience from when we were trying to come up with a name for our son. We tossed around all kinds of names, and for some reason, the name “Nigel” just kept sticking in my head, even though I didn’t much like it. I’d cross it off the list, and then it’d turn back up. Then, a friend suggested “Rigel” and it just CLICKED. Is it possible that Rigel is the name he was supposed to have had, and the persistent, disliked name was the Spirit trying to guide me to the right one? Who knows?

    That’s not to say that every child has a name they’re “supposed” to have and we need to work on stumbling upon it. I think in 99+% of the cases, Heavenly Father has no opinion on what names we choose. But it’s fun to think that maybe, just maybe, my son was the exception to the rule. 🙂

  23. jks says:

    Dayna – I have to admit that my second daughter has Lily as a middle name. It’s beautiful- even with the cutesy ending!

  24. spunky says:

    My name ends with “y” (really- its “ie”, but whatever). I have not always liked my name, manily because no one else I knew had that name, and I felt out of place as a Mormon in a non-Mormon school among other reasons. But have come to become comfortable with it and can’t imagine myself with any other name. I have never felt that the “y” made it cutesy.

    But I have other name issues.

    I really, really, really have issues with feminized male names. My mother has a feminised male name—and she was named for a male relative. That bothers me. I don’t know why exactly, but… names like Samantha (Samuel), Michelle (Michael), Geraldine (oh my!), to me—are way to masculinise females thereby making them have “more” value. Is it so wrong to equally value Alyssa with Alexander? Must we call a female Alexandria or Victoria after males thereby giving them … er… (increaded?) masculine strength? I am not sure I am expressing this well, but- I like women to have women’s names because to me—being a woman is powerful, authoritive and fantastic. To otherwise name a female with a male name seems almost degrading.

    But what bothers me the MOST (and perhaps these issues are why I am cursed and can’t have children)—is when female babies are not given middle names, with the assumption that her “maiden” name will become the middle name. *shutter* Um, so—a female isn’t deserving of a full name unless she is married? And she must always be property of one house (maiden name) or another (married name)? And she is obligated to take on her husband’s name—if indeed she chooses to marry? I swear, this naming tradition—one that some of my family adhere to—keeps me up nights. If you don’t have a second or middle name because your parents didn’t choose one, that’s fine. But if it is because you are being obligated by your parents to only have a full name once you are married and you are being obligated to take on your husband’s name because your parents think you don’t deserve a full name… this angers me beyond words.

    • spunky says:

      If I can add an ironic comment, I actually love the name Alexandra and Alexandria– but that is because I love Cleopatra (strong woman)- and she named the city Alexandria after her lover Alexander. And Alexandria had a rockin library back in the day. Yes, I have obessed about this for way too long…

    • I’m also anti-feminized male names for girls, but I never thought of Samantha as one of them. I may be wrong–my Oxford Dictionary of First Names says no one really knows the origin, and it may be a made-up feminized male name, just using an unexpected feminizer (-antha instead of -ette or -ina).

      I blogged about choosing baby names when I was pregnant with my youngest: http://fuguesalad.blogspot.com/2007/07/would-rose-by-any-other-name-smell-as.html

      As for my own name, I never liked it growing up, and frequently fantasized about changing it–either to something short and snappy and arguably nickname-y like Jae or Nan, or to something dignified and elegant like Elizabeth. I never tried on anything that felt like it fit particularly well, so no big changes for me. I don’t know why I never considered changing it to the name my parents had picked out before I was born (my mom unilaterally changed it in the hospital, to the name of that year’s Miss America), Kjiersten. It’s just as well, since my husband’s only sibling is Kirsten, and that might have been confusing.

      I do have a friend who changed her name in conjunction with her family’s interstate move while she was in high school. She changed it to the name her parents had wanted to name her but chickened out of actually picking. It fits her much better than the one on her birth certificate, I think.

  25. Vada says:

    I actually have a name that ends in -ie, and it’s a little on the cutesy side, but it doesn’t bother me. At times in my life when I wanted something more I just lengthened my name to the name that mine is generally a nickname for. I figured if everyone else could shorten their names for a nickname I could lengthen mine and it wasn’t a big deal.

    I also don’t have a middle name, but again, it’s never bothered me. I think it’s mostly because my mother chose not to give her girls middle names because she hadn’t gotten one and had just used her married name, and she liked that. It’s always felt to me like a tradition of my mother’s that she passed on because she liked it, so I’ve never resented it (though it’s a tradition that will change if I ever have daughters). Also, I had no problem giving myself a middle name any time I wanted one to use (Vada was actually the one I used most often).

    On the subject of your name, I suppose I’ve watched too much Charmed, but Piper would never strike me as a cutesy name. Piper is strong, serious, mature and in charge.

    I’ve given my kids names that are traditional, but not too common. They’re also a little longer, so they can be shortened for nicknames if they want to (or not). They all have middle names that were passed down (my husband’s name and our fathers’ names), so if they want something with more history they can use those. I think options are good.

  26. aerin says:

    My son has a longer, traditional, family name for his first name. He has a nickname as well. Having just started kindergarten (and adjusting to kindergarten), he’s said he doesn’t like his name. I’ve put it back on him, letting him know the various options he has. (His middle name, or even a name like “Skip” that isn’t related at all to his legal name).

    He’s been pretty silent about that, I’m not sure if he’s thinking about it or just decided he’s okay with his nickname. I like the idea that he is responsible for figuring out what he wants to change, if he wants to. One of my sisters was about his age when she decided she wanted to go by another nickname (and has all these years).

    I do think it is a parent’s responsibility to give a child a name that they won’t regret later in life. I’m thinking of a person who named her daughter “rebellion” (not joking) and another that used a star wars reference in the middle name. And not a reference like “leia” either. I think it’s worthwhile to be mindful of that when choosing names.

  27. beth says:

    I love the concept of middle names because you do have to give your children first names that they can use from birth to death and so you do have to worry about cutsey-ness and mean nicknames and names that are too common. But with middle names, you can be creative and give them a name that really has something behind it and sort of sends a message to them about what they mean to you. Our first two daughters names came together perfectly and are really meaningful and beautiful. Our third daughter though was harder. Her first name is Autumn and it was hard to match that with a middle name. We ended up going with Marie, even though it is a fairly common middle name, because it means “star of the sea” and she is a little Navy brat. 🙂

    I love that we get to name our children and it was definitely one of the joys of bringing a new little person into our family. But it really is a sort of terrifying responsibility.

  28. Katya says:

    All this discussion on names reminded me of Elouise Bell’s short story “The Meeting,” which is about a gender-switched sacrament meeting. They have babies to bless and the baby girls are named “Rachel Sariah” and “Elizabeth Eleanor,” while the baby boys are named “LeWinky” and “Tippy Tom.” 🙂

  29. Starfoxy says:

    I feel I should clarify that I don’t particularly think that every name ending in the -ie sound is cutesy. Lily and Jamie are excellent examples of names that I don’t see as cutesy.

    Also I had never really given much thought feminized versions of masculine names and how viewing those as more ‘respectable’ would perpetuate the problem of anything masculine being given more weight. That is an excellent point.

    And Katya I love that essay, and that is exactly the sort of disparity I’m thinking of. 🙂

  30. Kelly Ann says:

    Starfoxy, thanks for sharing the origin of your first name Piper. I think you make an interesting point about the importance of names. I love unique names. But having one myself, I am not sure I will name any theoretical children something that always begs comments. Most people just tell me my name is pretty. Sometimes they ask me about the origin.

    I have different answers for different people. 1) I was named after my mom’s best friend. 2) Like Sarah, it is speculated to mean Princess (and maybe Princess of our Lord) in Hebrew. 3) It is a name found, although spelled differently, in several cultures including Persian, Hispanic, and Mormon. 4) It is not as uncommon as one might think – I share it with an Iranian princess, a NPR correspondent, a Columbian pop-singer, and a prophet’s wife. 4) It has scriptural connection (some people think of Abraham’s wife originally named Sarai). 5) I was named after one of the three uniquely named women in the Book of Mormon.

    Lately, my biggest beef is that I don’t like having to explain the Mormon connection – mostly actually to other Mormons who as consequence assume that I come from and follow a traditional upbringing (neither of which I do). However, I otherwise like it even if it is very feminine. I just wish I didn’t have to explain it and also that it wasn’t so unique. I blog under my penname (a play on my last and middle names) because if you google my first name, it quickly brings up links of relevance. I stand behind everything I post, but I don’t necessarily want prospective tenants or employers uncovering my radical religious opinions before even getting to know me.

  31. rachel says:

    great post! i read an article last year about names and how they determine the success of an individual. if an individual’s name is more challenging or unusual for people to either write or say then that individual won’t do as well in school, work, etc. i’ll try to find the article.

  32. Dora says:

    I really like my name. It’s common enough that everyone knows how to spell it without direction, but uncommon enough that I never had another girl in the same class who ever had it.

    I often wonder about Wasatch front parents. There are so many girls with unusual first names, names that require direction on how to pronounce and spell them. I wonder if the parents are trying to gift some individuality in a rather homogenous place. I wonder if the girls/women appreciate the singularity of their names, or would rather have had something more classic.

    When I read this post, I did think of “Dances With Wolves.” I always likes how the characters were given their names based on their personalities and actions. I wonder what my name would be if it were chosen on that basis. Calm waters. Adventurista. Cares for sick children. Joyful dancer. Liberal feminist mormon. And then I start thinking about what names I would give others. Feminist firehouse. Paddles ocean deeps. Powerful advocate. Mentors young ones. Passionate poet.

    I also think of the new name, from time to time. I don’t really connect with mine. But it is distinctive, and I do remember it. Luckily, I don’t use it much …

  33. Diane says:

    I think certain names are popular during different decades. When I was growing up(child of the 70) there were plenty of Jennifer and Jessica running around. I was always the only Diane. I always felt plain. Then Princess Diana came along and now I’m hearing more little girls named Diana.

    But in reality my name fits my personality. Plain and simple. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

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