Saturday, August 12, 2017

Call My Name? Really, Don't.


I was born back in the days when being different was Not Acceptable.  But my mother loved the unusual, so she decided to give me an unusual name.  A boy's name spelled the way boys spell it.  A very, very, very few girls might have the name but they would spell it the girl's way.....and if indeed there were any girls who were the same age as me and who had the same name as me, well, I have never met one.  It made me singular, and that's what my mother wanted:  unforgettable.

Unfortunately, I've never quite been able to live up to my name.  Running away from it always seemed to be the preferable option but I never could escape.  And since we moved frequently when I was a kid, I was always the new girl in school with the weird name that I always had to explain and defend.  Teachers always asked me the same question:  Your parents wanted a boy, didn't they?  Didn't matter what I might try to answer, they always laughed because they were pleased with their little joke.

The girls I went to school with were Sue Ann and Karen and Julie.  Didn't matter what school I went to (and there were about 12 of them by the time I graduated high school) or what state I lived in (9 of those), those were the pretty names you'd hear.  Mine fell like a dead thud on the ear.  And no one wanted to say it.  Ever.  No one called my anything unless it was some taunting nickname, meant to sting.  The one I recall most particularly was Spider Cider, although I have no idea why they called me that.  Finally there was a cartoon character with my name but the cartoon character was a doofy elephant; believe me, that did further harm to the reputation of my name.  The other kids sure got a laugh out of it anyway.

Even my parents didn't call me by name.....unless I was in Big Fat Trouble.  To this day, no one says my name.  That's why I had a small temporary freak out today.  I was trying to resolve a problem for a neighbor.  When my cell phone rang, I picked it up and the very last thing that I expected to hear was someone saying, not Hello, but my name. 

Just one word, spoken quickly with a slight edge of agitation.....and I could not speak.  My throat closed, and I physically could not utter one single sound.   It took me a moment to recover.  All of a sudden I felt that I was somehow in Big Fat Trouble again, even though this time I was the one who was attempting to resolve someone else's problem.

An hour later, my throat still feels thick and rough, and I still wanna go hide in a corner.  Funny how one word.....two syllables.....six letters can strike at a person.  And how my name can reduce me again to a nine year old battling the whole world.

I'm gonna go buy some ice cream that I can't afford.
I've earned it.

Life is good, although sometimes painful.

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