In last July’s tater tot post, I asked what you would rename yourself if you had the option? Or are you content with the name you were given at birth?
For a long time, I didn’t like my name. That is to say, I didn’t think my name suited me. I didn’t feel like a Kari. But do you think your name fits you?
Someone else decided your name while you were still forming in the womb.
What you will be known as for the rest of your life is decided before you even arrive on this planet.
Take a moment to think about that.
It would make complete sense for human beings to undergo a name change ceremony when reaching an age of your choosing. I believe we should be able to change our names on a regular basis. We change our minds about everything, from the color of our hair to the paint colors on the walls of our homes to the people with whom we choose to spend our lives. Why should we be bound by our first names?
Why is it acceptable to change a surname when you take a husband (or wife), but it seems impolite to change your first name? A family name that has been passed down through generations is perfectly appropriate to change, but the idea of changing our first name, which is far more expressive, makes us cringe.
However, I haven’t always been this open to changing a first name. My two daughters have both expressed displeasure with their given names at some point. I was initially bothered by this.
Your names are beautiful!
Your names are family names!
I wish I had your names!
So much better than mine….oh….now I get it…
When I was in kindergarten, I shared a classroom with 15 other children who all had different names. I had a crush on a boy who shared my name but spelled it differently. I’m sure the attraction was more about the name than the boy. But I was surrounded by new names, and it was in that small classroom when I discovered I didn’t like my own.
Perhaps it was because I was learning to write my own for the first time. Maybe it was because I was experiencing independence for the first time. Or possibly because I was learning about the letter Z.
I recall sitting in the front seat of my mother’s car in a Dairy Queen parking lot, deep in thought about why I needed to be named Elizabeth moving forward.
But I want a Z in my name, Mommy!
Please, can we change my name to Elizabeth?
If times had been less rigid back then, I’m sure my mother would have allowed me to change my name.
Would my life have been different if I were an Elizabeth?
My name, Kari, is largely Scandinavian in origin. It translates as “pure.” In Norway, it is still a very common name. It is also a popular surname (last name) in India. When my mother was younger, she had a sweet older neighbor named Carrie, and she loved her name. My father also loved the name but preferred a more contemporary spelling.
When I looked up my name, I discovered that my “name day” (day of the year linked with my given name) is the same day as my youngest daughter’s birthday, which is pretty cool.
My middle name is Ellen. I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned it here. It was in honor of my grandmother, Ella, but my parents didn’t like the way Kari Ella sounded, so they went with Kari Ellen.
Ellen is a Greek name that means “sun ray” or “shining light.”
I discovered that Ellen is a diminutive of Elizabeth. That is, the name Ellen is a nickname for Elizabeth. So I guess, I did receive the name Elizabeth after all. Perhaps I was named Elizabeth in a previous life and the name stuck. 🙂
I took my daughters’ dislike of their names too personally, at first. I’d spent a lot of time thinking about their names, and it was what connected them to me before they arrived. But their names do not reflect who they are as human beings.
Their names do not define them.
I’ve become accustomed to my given name over the years. I love the story of how I became Kari and Ellen. And now I love that I discovered, while writing this post, that I am, in fact, an Elizabeth after all.
Do I feel like a Kari? On most days, no. But that is not how I identify in my everyday life. That is not how I am addressed by those I love. Very rarely am I called by my first name.
I am just me.
Have you done any research into your birth names? Have you changed your birth names, or would you like to?