Hi, my name’s _____. But does it matter? (Con)
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
You’ve probably heard these wise words before, spoken by Juliet (who wasn’t very wise herself). It’s true: What is in a name? Is our name really our identity? Personally, I believe that too much emphasis and value are placed into names.
When parents or loved ones name children, they put a fraction of their own expectations into that name. A name that means “strong and brave,” for example, probably means someone wants the child to be strong and brave. A name shouldn’t exemplify who we are; most of us weren’t even born when we got our names chosen for us. In fact, a name seems more like a mark of ownership and a burden. Even before birth, someone is already pushing what they want onto us, and even if they have good intentions, the results are the same. We end up with a word (or words) that seem to create our whole world—it’s what we’re called by when we’re in trouble, getting an award or simply being greeted by a friend. Thus, we associate our name with our identity, when really, it isn’t.
This isn’t to go and say that names are bad, or that we should all go change our names to showcase our glorious independence. The point here is that names don’t make who we are. Sure, go ahead and be proud of the meaning behind your first name or the lineage behind your last. Just keep in mind that you are more than your name. Don’t be trapped by it. As someone with a made-up last name, I’ve never felt names are a big deal. Does it make me less of a person because I’m the first one in my family with the last name Quin? Am I fake because my non-existent Quin ancestors didn’t suffer through anything so I can be where I am today? I certainly hope not.
So to recap: what’s in a name? Letters. Letters and nothing more. Because whoever named you didn’t put thought and love into the name itself—they put that thought and love into you.