Posted in Life, Thoughts

Names Are Weird

Basically, the title of this post is the conclusion. I have no profound thoughts about why it is, just some illustrations I feel like sharing.

Illustration One:
I’ve never been good at naming things. I did not name baby dolls or stuffed animals when I was little. And I have lots of stories in my head, and most of the characters in them do not have names. Mostly they only get names when I’m going to write about them.

A while ago, a couple characters were having a baby. I went looking for names I thought the parents might pick and ended up with Alana. Had I been naming the baby the way I normally name characters, she would not have been Alana; it’s not the sort of thing I’d have chosen to go with her personality. Yet somehow it works.

Illustration Two:
Fun fact that will make this illustration much easier to write: my name is Emily. I like my name a lot. I think it fits me well. However, with internet friends, I have always gone by Zella, which came from a story my friends Maria and Nicole and I created. I’ve met some of my internet friends in real life now, and they know my name. Two in particular I’ve spent a lot of time with. I still use the names I knew them by online. D now calls me Emily. GG, however, has stuck with Zella. (Then there’s Gaby, whom I technically met online first, but I didn’t know her at all at that point, then we met in real life, then we got to know each other on the internet. She originally called me Emily but now mostly uses Zella. It’s kind of weird and complicated but cool.)

Hopefully that paragraph made sense.

Moving on. A few weeks ago, GG and I were chatting on Facebook. We were actually discussing place names at the time, and I commented that names are weird. She replied, “Indeed they are, Emily.”

I saw the name in the message before I read the whole thing, and I wondered who she was talking about. Then I realized, “Oh… That’s ME!”

Then I responded with these, because sometimes we communicate in gifs:

GG: “I had to work hard to convince myself to do that. I think it was worth it. Good reactions. XD”

It felt so wrong. Which, objectively, is strange. There are many strange things GG could call me that would not make me think twice. Moriarty. Rich. Librarian. Mum. (All long stories.) But the name that I expect to hear from pretty much everyone else in the world isn’t okay.

Illustration Three:
I have a thing for slightly unusual boys’ names that are also words. I realized this a few years ago. I have not yet diagnosed the reason. But it is consistent. Drew. Blaze. Bran. I have a character who goes by the nickname Trick. There’s a character in the Ranger’s Apprentice series named Halt, and I just love it.

And have a couple related quotes that I really like; this post was already a ramble, so why not?

“That’s a lovely idea, Diana,” said Anne enthusiastically. “Living so that you beautify your name, even if it wasn’t beautiful to begin with…making it stand in people’s thoughts for something so lovely and pleasant that they never think of it by itself.” – From Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

“A name can’t begin to encompass the sum of all her parts. But that’s the magic of names, isn’t it? That the complex, contradictory individuals we are can be called up complete and whole in another mind through the simple sorcery of a name.” – From Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint

To sum up: names are weird.


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