I disliked my first name as a kid. No one could spell it, say it, read it or pronounce it, so I sliced it in half, then it was half as bad. It was unlike any name I’d ever heard – a source of embarrassment for an already awkward child.
If someone did get it right, or half right, I’d hear the usual question, “Did your father want a boy?”
“No, my mother made it up,” I’d say.
My mother occasionally reminded me of its meaning – “dearly beloved.” I didn’t feel dearly beloved. Maybe I was dearly beloved when I was born or dearly beloved until I was a year and a half, when the next child came along. I can’t say, I wasn’t there, intellectually.
I’m grateful. Mom wanted to anoint my youngest half-sibling with “Kerwin.” Checking on the meaning – little dark one. If my name meant something, then surely his should, too. Blonde, blue eyes and dimples. Kerwin? Lucky for him, his father insisted on his son taking his name – Robert.
I substituted first names for my own, to get a feel for them. I’d decided that I’d legally change my name to – Loretta. Loretta Young, the kindest, softest, sweetest, most beautiful woman in the world. My mother resembled Loretta in looks, but not in the personality that came through to my mind, via the television set. To me, she was dazzling.
Here’s my first name and how it went, historically:
- Daryl’ann (birth certificate)
- Daryl-ann (mother spells it this way)
- Darl’ann (relatives interpretation)
- Daryl (my interpretation as a kid)
- Darylann (my interpretation, finally)
As an adult, I began to feel more comfortable with my femininity and my name, and added back the ann without any hyphen or apostrophe. Bumping the two names together, with no apostrophe, hyphen or variation, was a simple way to create a new name and make it my own. I have no middle name to toy with.
People still get my name wrong. Either they aren’t listening, have no cognitive ability, or can’t read. I don’t mind someone asking how it’s pronounced – I understand. It’s an uncommon name. I also understand that you may not remember it. I understand this, too.
- Do you think people live up to their names?
- Have you ever been surprised when you find out someone’s name and think the name doesn’t match the person?
- Are you willing to ask someone’s name again, if you’ve forgotten, or do you just make a guess or simply avoid the name altogether?
In the next Name Game post, I’ll let you know how I came to choose “Seapunk2.”