what’s in a name? (a good way to begin)

Start simple, then specific.

The term ‘blog’ is quite offensive. Not politically, only to the politics of my ears. Blog. We(b)log. Bog. Log. Bllleeeeuuughhh. Ogogog. It made sense, but did they have to make it so damn ugly? I did not want to be a part of something called Og but I’ve done it anyway because I’m a) not as determined as I believed b) a little weaker than I’d like to think and c) a-fraid. They say, these days you have to be a part of Blog in order to get a job.

The name I chose could be the name of an antiques dealer, though, I think, don’t you think, couldn’t it? Well, be honest. Gulls of Brighton. But actually I’m okay with that – there are worse analogies than antiques.

My own name is the weirdest of them all, naturally. It is divided into three parts. The first is light. Rachel. The second is lighter still. Louise. And the third is extremely heavy. Silverlight. Although technically in three, I tend naturally to divide it into two parts, the light against the heavy: Rachel Louise versus Silverlight.

Rachel Louise does not feel like anyone at all, and least of all like me. Who is Rachel Louise? She is so extraordinarily light, she has no roots in the ground whatsoever. She came out of nowhere, she was random, pure chance in fact. I asked my parents why Rachel, and it seems they could not decide between Lucy (mother) and Nicola (father). Of course I am neither of them, but I am not Rachel either: when it comes down to it, I really don’t think I have a name, although I do answer to Rachel, but that is largely down to conditioning. If I had been born a boy, of course that would have been different and I would have been Andrew, after a great grandfather. Of course then that wouldn’t have been mine either, but it might have felt a little stronger.

As for Louise, well where to begin? Even my parents don’t know where Louise came from. My mother says perhaps they ought to have given me the name Josephine after my grandmother, and I would have liked that. A little more sophisticated, a little French, a little prettier and a little heavier. And my sister is Marie, pronounced Ma-ree. Marie, the family name – there was Caroline Marie and Pamela Marie and I don’t know further back than that, but it has a good weight to it. Of course, they were named Marie to rhyme with starry: Marr-ee. (If I was a boy it would have been James, another dead relative to give me weight. Of course, if I had been born a boy absolutely everything would have been different anyway.)

No: the first part of my name is my very own. Of nowhere and nothing, it is only in me, and as such it is also nothing at all. Very, very light, I am a little proud of it being this way.

And then there is Silverlight- overloaded. Unbearable, almost. I am the last of my kind, almost. Thinking as I did when I was a child, I will be the last Silverlight to die (my sister is older than me so she will die before me, naturally). Silverlight will die out with me, unless I have an illegitimate child or two, which raises another pressure and to be honest if I’m going to do that I’d better get on with it. Oh God, it has the weight of years on it. How different if I had been born a boy: it’s not merely a matter of translation, but requires a different mode of understanding altogether. Silverlight is no more my own than the first part of my name – Rachel Louise. Silverlight belongs to the family. It implies clan, link, society, a very way of being. To be a Silverlight. Especially since we are so few. It gives you something to live up to. It reminds me every day, and so in this way it is the complete opposite of Rachel Louise.

Rachel Louise is freedom, maybe to the point of nihilism, and Silverlight is responsibility, a kind of morality. Clearly they need each other, and in a very peculiar way, somehow they are me and I am my names.

That (those?) is (are) my name(s) – and what is (are) yours?

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3 thoughts on “what’s in a name? (a good way to begin)

  1. I know how you feel, I have a similar problem with my surname.

    ‘Of nowhere and nothing, it is only in me, and as such it is also nothing at all. Very, very light, I am a little proud of it being this way.’ Like it.

  2. *chuckle* what an interesting first blllleeeeuuuurrrrgggghhhhh post! i’ve never thought about *my* name in that much depth. not the one i was born with, anyway.
    my name is Antonia Sorrel Hibberd. (hello! *waves*) a name faaaaaar too weighty for me, i fear. which is why i’m Toni IRL (Antonia only happens when i’m in trouble. viz: “AntoniAAAA!!!”), and Squeaky here in cyberspace (there’s quite a long story behind that one, which i shan’t bore you with, but i’m very fond of it, for numerous reasons :o). my mum was *very* certain where both of my names came from. my surname used to be Brookes, which is dreadfully boring, and then i got married. i like it much better, now. :o)
    and i think both you and Rosie have beautiful names.
    X

  3. I’m glad to see your words floating through the cyber ether again, chica! (Cyber ether = prettified version of blogosphere, the extension of the ugly word!) I could almost hear your voice as I read this – like you were speaking out loud. In real life, when you’re talking about big topics and interesting subjects (around the dinner table, usually), your voice forms sentences and paragraphs that are as well-structured as your written word.

    Oh, to have that ability. 🙂 My own spoken words stumble over one another hopelessly!

    I have always found ‘Rosanna’ something of a mystery. Many people ask me if I have Italian roots because of it, or if there is a particular story behind my name. To strangers it lends me an interesting continental air. But it is just like your name – chosen because it seemed to fit, because ma and pa liked it, and not for any other reason.

    To have a name chosen for you for no other reason than that it seemed to fit is quite nice, I think. It frees you from the weight of history and other attachments – such as, if I really *did* have Italian roots, people might be disappointed when they eventually realised that I wasn’t living up to them at all. 😉

    Blog again soon, my dear! (Good grief, ‘blog’ as a verb is almost obscene, isn’t it?!) xx

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