Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Name Game

What's in a name?

I can write about this topic with rather extensive authority.

My parents wanted to name me Deanna, after a beloved relative.
Grandma talked them out of it.

It seemed she had a distant cousin, an etiquette specialist in the Chicago area who had never married, never had children. Grandma, an only child herself, had been one of the only people in the family to keep track of her, and had a soft spot for the woman. She implored my parents to name me Amy.

Happy with the first name, no problems there. Who wouldn't like being given a name that means 'beloved friend' or 'a woman beloved'?

Technicalities came in with the last name, which I'm going to tell you right now won't be recorded here. Beg all you want, I'm not divulging. Sufficeth it to say it was a doozy of a surname, in the category with Pigg, Butt, and Burpo. While I had nothing to do with the choosing of it, and it was certainly not fair, I was stuck with the thing on every school paper, name tag, and worst of all, every darn daily roll call.

Insecure junior high math teachers that doubled as wrestling coaches who hoped to score points with the team found great delight in calling me exclusively by my last name, just to hear the boys snicker. I felt this was particularly immature on their part, and tried to let them know with my killer dirty looks (which were ignored).

I longed for a prettier last name, something inconsequential, something that blended in. Our small pioneer town had a lot of 'sens and 'sons in it. Amy Larson, one of the girls at my high school, who never had any trouble with getting teased. We shared the exact same first name, but that last name was where all of the issues were. Life can be cruel.

I had to work on what I could change, which was my sulky, victimized, adolescent personality. I got creative. I developed my language skills. I wrote, I painted, I became the family's expert hairstylist, I cracked jokes....until one day years later, I did the unthinkable. I married a Larson and was given the very name I wished for in high school. The former Amy Larson is probably married now, with a new last name (unless she chose to keep the old one). We switched places, just like I'd magically longed for at age 13.

Whereas I once stood out like an orange in an apple orchard, nowadays I can blend in. There are tons of Amy Larsons, many of them artists, doctors, photographers, 911 truth chalk message makers and the like.

So which Amy Larson am I?
The one with the very unique personality that, in hindsight, probably goes far better with the former last name.

Go figure.

*Please visit this Amy Larson on Twitter and Facebook. 

No comments:

Post a Comment