Saturday, 4 August 2012

"you can't call her that! it sounds like that old boat."

if it were possible to live without a name, I'd do it tomorrow without hesitation.

I have many lables that I identify with very strongly, but I've never felt my name was part of that identity.

it's not about the name; no part of my name is offensive to me and I can't think of any that I might prefer, it's more the concept of names that bothers me.

my mum has explained how it was chosen. my last name is the name of all my male line ancestors, in the way that is customary in our culture. my first and middle names a result of a few strange ideas....

mum liked Harriet, but my dads name is harry. his brother is George and they had a dad George, a grandad George, an uncle George, a grandad harry, 3 uncles harry and a cousin harry. dad didn't want any more Harry's or George's.

so mum had to pick a different name. she wanted something that wouldn't get in the way, and that I might "look like". apparently names like Melissa or Jessica were "to pretty" for someone of my expected size. mum picked a traditional girls name that she thought was unusual. when I started school there were 3 of us in my year with the same name, so clearly not that unusual.

mum liked rose as a middle name, but dad and my aunt Ivy thought that with my 1st name that sounded too much like "Mary Rose", the Tudor shipwreck raised not long before (hence the title of this post - I can almost hear Ivy saying that). so she picked a new middle name.

apparently none of this could be decided before I was born; apparently they had to see me to make sure I looked like the chosen name. this seems quite bizarre to me. babies look like babies. specifically, new born babies look like the offspring of Winston Churchill and some sort of reptile (they also scream like they know they look like this, and are very angry about it). yes, I know the hormones kick in and when the time comes I'm going to fall madly in love with my screaming Churchill lizard creature, I just don't see how they might look more like one name than another.

so there we have it. before I was even really me, I was assigned a 3 part lable based on compromises, daft assumptions and my male line ancestry. I don't like or hate it, I just feel it's irrelevant to who I am. I have a name and I have a national insurance number. both are useful to have, neither mean me.

so, what about my own reptilian wartime prime ministers? how will I choose their arbitrary social admin lables? well, the surname depends on my partner. if they especially want theirs to continue, fine. ideally, I'd like us both to pick 2 other surnames from our recent ancestry, assign each of the 6 names a number (my current surname, theirs + the 2 we each chose) and roll a dice.

as for first & middle names, I want to minimise any difficulties in the social admin and, if possible, give them a sense of belonging. in my family, we have a history of specific learning difficulties, so this means short names with no lower case b,d,p or q. I think Nina or Amy for girl lizards, Luke or Jack for boy lizards. I like the weird relatives idea of using the grandparents names as middle names.

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