The Story of Your Name

“If I’m gonna tell a real story, I’m gonna start with my name.” ...Kendrick Lamar

“Bob Marley isn’t my name. I don’t even know my name yet.” ... Bob Marley

When I was pregnant with my son, my husband and I debated names for weeks. For whom would we name our son, which names did we both like (not that many unfortunately), which first name choices sounded okay with which middle name choices, which names flowed with our last name. It wasn’t easy and at one point, I thought our son would come home from the hospital as Baby Boy Bender.

Of course, we eventually figured it out and today my son loves hearing about the “almost” names on our long-ago list. Names that nearly came to identify him, and today are nothing but footnotes from before he was even born.

It was only recently, however, that I started thinking about my own name. I’ve always known for whom I was named, luckily a source of great pride. But did I like my name? Would I have chosen it for myself? Did it fit my personality?

These were questions I’d never considered.

When practicing Catholics are confirmed, they select a confirmation name for themselves. What a fantastic tradition, I think. Naming yourself. Looking at the saints, figuring out which one you’d like to emulate, which one holds a sound that is pleasant to your ear. While I’m not Catholic, I was intrigued by the tradition and the possibilities it allowed. What name would I have selected if Catholicism had been my faith?

When writing your life story, be sure to include the history of your naming if there’s an interesting story to share. Were you named after somebody in particular, and if so, is that a connection that makes you proud or does it feel like a burden? Do you like your name? Do you connect with it? What name would you have picked for yourself if you could have whispered from the womb to your mother’s ear?

We spend our life identifying ourselves by our name. Your name will go on the cover of your book. Surely, your feelings about that name warrant a paragraph or two within its pages.

Your name is a part of your life story. And a part that deserves to be told.

Please let me know if you’d like my help telling it.