What’s In A Name?

Names. We all have them. Of course now I’m thinking of that episode of The Office where Michael and Dwight are calling David and he calls back and asks “who is this?” and Michael freezes and says “I was never given a name” before hanging up. Classic.

Anyways. Names are brands. They are online (as in Twitter handles) and they are in real life. They make a difference. They have power. I mean, Voldemort’s name was basically a homing device.

Image result for hello my name is

I don’t hate my name. It’s not a weird name, so there isn’t much to hate. I dislike some nicknames that derive from it but that’s too bad for me. I also have come to like some of my nicknames. Speaking of nicknames, does anyone feel like you must be on a certain level of friendship to use one? Unless that person introduces themselves with the nickname, I feel very weird calling them it, even if I know the person. Is that silly?

On another note, do parents ever wonder if they named their kids right? Because I’ve never had a chance to name a child, or even a pet for that matter, but just based on things I have named, I do regret them.

Like when I was in grade six, I loved Webkinz, and when I finally got my hands on the illusive pink dragon one, I named it Crystal Rose. I regret this name. Not that it’s not a nice name (though in hindsight it is a little stripper-like) but at the time I was hardcore obsessed with author Chris D’Lacey’s The Last Dragon Chronicles and I’ll always regret not naming my dragon something that started with a G in honor of them.

But I guess that’s not as bad as those parents who named their daughter Kaitlyn but spelled the “ait” part like the number eight in roman numerals so this child’s name is “KVIIIlyn.”

Image result for kviiilynThat baby looks full of anger already and I don’t blame it. Substitute teachers will hate this.

I even regret some names on my blog. Once in a while I wonder if “Coolbeans” is too unprofessional. I love it, but does it fit and will employers take me seriously? And that number 4…should that be removed? Obviously I didn’t plan on using it, but someone took coolbeans.wordpress.com, so I added the 4, my favourite number. But I remember in one of the Blogging U courses I took last year, someone suggested that I remove the 4 from my title as numbers can make it seem spam-y. It was a valid point, but I ended up keeping it because I worry about people remembering the 4 when searching for my blog, so by having it so clearly there in my header, I hope it helps. But even my father forgets the 4 when he’s telling people about my blog… And I know that coolbeans.com is taken, so if I were to hypothetically buy a domain in the future, I’d likely still have to keep the 4 anyways. But it’s okay, I feel like the 4 is a part of coolbeans now, so it doesn’t bother me too much. What does bother me is that some inactive account has @coolbeans4 on Twitter and I have to use @coolbeans_4 like a loser.

And then there’s my username. Desperate not to worry about it too much when I made the blog, I went with the first thing that wasn’t taken, which was I Am Donovan, or as WordPress has it, iamdonovan. I hoped that by capitalizing the I and A and D people would know that I  mean “I am” and that I don’t have the name “iam” but I can’t control how people read things. Here I am a year and a half later and I still fret about these things.

And now that I’ve started writing for other sites, I’m even more keen on making sure there’s unity between my online presences. This past summer I started writing and editing for Popwrapped, an entertainment/news website, which has been cool. And since it’s such a large site (over 2 million Twitter followers!) I knew it’d look good on a resume and possible employers would want to see my work, which is why I go by V Donovan there. Which, of course, made me wish my blog username was the same. Luckily, WordPress lets people change their public display name as much as they want, so at least my names match on the surface, but my username is still technically iamdonovan on both sites, and if I change that, it’s gone forever. I’m still debating whether to change it, but it can stay for now. But y’all can still call me Donovan. I prefer it.

Isn’t it ridiculous though? I spend so much time worrying about names and numbers and underscores. I feel like I’ll never be content. Does anyone else share my struggles?

I think that when I have kids, I’m just going to let my husband pick the names. I mean, I don’t think I could survive the crippling guilt I’d inevitably feel.

Of course now I’m thinking of that episode of Glee when Finn comes up with the best baby name and shows Quinn.

Do you worry about names or regret any?

That’s all for now!

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20 thoughts on “What’s In A Name?

  1. This reminded me of the time when I was selecting a name for my blog. I think it is weird how we give too much thought on selecting a name. But even I feel I can never be content with it nor I will be ever as good as picking up a name for my kids.

  2. Miss Manners says that a parent’s job is to give their kid a flexible name, so that’s what we did. We named her after my grandmother and KPD’s grandmother. Her first name is short, but her middle name has many nicknames she can choose from if she likes, or her initials work as a name.

    All that said, I went by a completely different name all through college, so thoroughly that Senior year I was in a class taught by my thesis adviser, and he didn’t recognize my given name on the attendance list because he had forgotten my nickname wasn’t my real name. So the Kid has grown up knowing that there’s a group of people who call me this other name, and she knows that’s an option for her too.

    Even so, I sometimes regret not naming her after my grandfather, whom she more closely resembles, or keeping her birth name as her middle name, or keeping her birth name altogether, or naming her after KPD’s father who passed away about a year before we adopted the Kid. But she says she doesn’t like those names. Now that she’s 12, of course, she also doesn’t like her name, but we don’t take it personally.

    At least with kids, you don’t have to worry that the name is already taken. Mine is The Kid Project because all the nerd/geek titles I could think of were taken, and then I found out there’s a larger institution called The Kid Project so there goes my brand.

    Anyway, I think the important thing with all of the big choices one makes for one’s children is to be able to explain it as an act of love. I can tell my Kid that I chose names that had meaning to us and our families, as a way of welcoming her and making her part of our family. I can tell her that I thought about the fact that she might be dissatisfied with her name when she was older, so I gave her a name with choices built in. And I can tell her that she has the right to change her name and I will respect that choice. But it’s no longer my decision, so there’s no point in regretting it. When we chose the name, the Kid was a theoretical person. Now, she’s a real human with her own identity and opinions, and it’s up to her.

    • That’s a good way of looking at it. And naming after family probably helped a lot! I do have hypothetical child names picked out, but my likes will probably change between now and when I actually have a child.

  3. Oh how this post made me laugh. I remember going through the same irksome thing when @LiteraryandLovely was too long for Twitter so I had to change it to @LitandLovely and now I regret not having all the names the exact same. Plus some inactive blog has the .com domain and I don’t want to pay like $100 to get it.

    I don’t know if I could ever let my partner name my child though. I was talking about baby names with my best friend the other day and he turned to me and said, dead serious, “I plan on naming my kid Poseidon.” I mean, I don’t have anything against the God, but really, that is just going to be interesting for a kindergartener to spell and explain to their classmates.

  4. Names are important. Naming the kids something that’s better for the dog isn’t cool. Yeah, names depend on your culture, the time period you’re living in, and your ethnic heritage. But you also have to take into account your neighborhood, your school, your child’s peers. For example – if your town calls everyone by the shortened version of people’s names (Steve instead of Steven, Jack instead of John, Liz instead of Elizabeth, etc.), and you don’t care for that… Or the name Martha is high on your list for kids, but you just haven’t met another Martha in the past 30 years… Or the blog title you really want is already taken…

    Personally, I’ve never liked my given name, and I’ve gone by a nickname of my choosing (except for official paperwork) for a long time now. There’s nothing wrong with my given name, but it just doesn’t suit me. And people insisted on calling me by another name that sounds similar, and is more common, but IS NOT what’s on my birth certificate. (Don’t try telling me I don’t know what my name is, people.) Plus they insisted on using a nickname that I think is completely inappropriate for women, and for me especially. And it honestly just pissed me off that they refused to accept my choice of what I wanted to be called.

    If there are power in words, then it means there’s power in names. (Voldemort is a great example.) If our names are supposed to be powerful, then we should remember that before we hurry to name our kids after fruits and yoga poses.

    • Yes, there is a difference between a name you were given and a name you identify with. I have a friend who has considered legally changing her name to a nickname because no one calls her by her full name. Names have styles. Some names are timeless and some fade out of use, it all just depends.
      But at the end of the day, a name comes down to ‘what string of sounds can one make to get your attention?’

  5. My name is weird, that’s why I go by Kori. My entire names just screams hispanic and I do love the fact that its unique, it is a mouthful at times. When my mother named me she wanted something creative, she was young, 19, and she even said, “I put no thought in naming you”. I have my grandmothers name as my middle name and my surname is so Puerto Rican it’s not even funny. I like my name, wouldn’t ask for another name, but I would give my kid a simple first name followed by a hispanic middle name.

    Also, Kaitlyn is a pretty name but, KVIIIlyn is just wrong on so many levels.

  6. I am the fourth generation, first-born daughter with the middle-name Marie (our daughter is the fifth,) and I love that I am often called by my first & middle name as if it were one! It is a romantically nostalgic feeling I get when others take the time to address me this way.
    PS- I adore that we met & that I get to read all your wonderful stuff…no matter what name you are using! Hugs4U!

    • You’re so sweet! And that’s so cool that your name has such a history now. I personally don’t know anyone who goes by two names like that, so you’re definitely rare in that sense!

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