Friday, June 15, 2012

What's In A Name?

My mother-in-law is friends with a woman who has a striking, young daughter named Chloe.  Chloe is a licensed hair stylist and often comes to my house to cut and color my desperately out of control hair.  She gives me fashion advice too (that too is desperately bad).  I suppose that technically makes her my "stylist."  When she's here, I feel like a celebrity.  If people call while I'm getting "styled",  I answer and jokingly say, "sorry...can't talk right now...I'm in hair in make-up."  

I once went to a stylist that was so rough, my scalp ached every time I left her salon.  Not Chloe! She has the most gentle touch that it almost instantly reduces my blood pressure by several points.  She's sweet and young, does a good job and best of all, doesn't charge much.  Plus, I  like her and want to support her in this new career!  Her name is actually Amanda but she hated it and one day, she decided to change it.

"It's so common and not me at all.  Plus, everyone called me Manda Panda," she said.

This made no sense to me, the part about the panda I mean.  Because Chloe is petite and slim with long, reddish hair and icy blue eyes.  She has tattoos and face piercings and in no way resembles a panda.  She's never been fat or dual-colored.    It was an unfortunate rhyme that made her self conscious. She told me when she was in junior high she refused to wear black or white because she was afraid it would give her tormentors more ammo.  Kids can be so cruel with their name calling.  "Amanda" tolerated it until she was 18.  Then she shed her former panda self and became "Chloe".

She hasn't legally changed her name...yet.

It's interesting how much a name can affect our identity.

Chloe felt that she didn't fit her name and she longed to be called something different.  I can  relate to that.  I didn't like my name when I was a kid either. In fact, I changed my first name too.

Later, when I got married, I eagerly undressed of my maiden name and clothed myself with my husband's.  I was a new person and I had a fresh start. I was so happy when I got my new driver's license and social security card with a brand new moniker on it.

I loved that I was no longer called by my biological father's name. Having his name meant there was an association between us but because he chose to stay out of my life,  there wasn't. It made me feel like an imposter, confused about my identity. My step-father once offered to adopt me and give my his last name but that didn't feel right either.

After I was married, I knew who I was and where I belonged.   It fit perfectly.  Every once in a while I will run across something with my old name on it and I hardly recognize it as me.  It's like keeping an old piece of clothing that you wore years ago and when you pull it out of the closet you say, "how did that ever fit me?" I don't want to ever change my name again.

I have worn lots of names in my life but nothing has ever fit quite as nicely as wife, mother.

Do you feel like your name fits you perfectly? Have you ever wanted to change your name?


  1. When I was in Kindergarten I decided to change my name to Donna, which was my best friend's name. (We are still besties, whatever that means in the grownup world). I wrote it on all my papers in school and refused to be called Laura. Eventually this phase ended but I always hated my maiden name...imagine what kids can do to name like Pantaleno, which no one could pronounce either. But as an adult that name seems a lot more elggant than...well...Beeler. But it's funny I don't really remember being anything other than Laura Beeler, even though I was Laura Pantaleno a lot longer!

  2. My youngest daughter's name in Amanda and my husband lovingly called her Amanda the Panda. I actually have written a post about it, but haven't posted it yet. The topic is on nicknames. So, what a surprise I got when I read about Chloe and her nickname!

    I think names are really neat. Often the meaning in a name suits the personality of the person it belongs to. I usually encourage people to see the good in their names, but my husband and I once helped an African lady to take a new name, her birth name meant accident!

    Tina - author and mom blogger at

    1. Accident? I can see why she wanted to change it! Can't wait to read your nickname blog!

  3. Yes, I would totally love to change my name. Sadly, I am too lazy to worry with the paperwork. Ironically, my very first blog post is about my name and the pitfalls that come with it.

    1. We had the same issue with my husband's last name. He wanted to change it to his father's name and we considered doing it before we got married but were overwhelmed with the legalities of it all!


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