A Girl by Any Other Name
March 03, 2012
When I was younger, we had an assignment to look up what our name meant. "Which one?" I asked, because I have a lot of names coming from a Hispanic background. "Why don't you do all of them?" the teacher replied. Great, now I was stuck doing extra homework since my parents endowed me with a long name. It was like they couldn't make up their minds, so they decided to give me every name they could find. I over exaggerate, but that was how it felt for a kid in the fourth grade.
Don't even mention standardized testing to me. I raised my hand in first grade when I ran out of boxes. As I told the teacher this, there was a lot of snickering from my classmates, and she didn't quite believe me. Testing was held up until they could verify with my mother that my name was actually that long. "Yes, really, Mrs. Wolf, she has three names before the surname." My name continued to plague me into high school and college with every standardized test I encountered.
Getting married gave me the opportunity to finally decide what my name would be. For once I could choose to shorten it a little, but as the wedding approached, I found myself doing something I hadn't done up until then. I clung to my name, remaining indecisive about what it would be, even after the ceremony was performed. As I arrived at the license office and the clerk asked me what my new name was, I hesitated. "Miss," she said, "There's a line behind you of people. What's your name?" The moment arrived and the words came out in a rush, "Anna Maria Isabella Gonzalez Huckeby." She gave me a you-have-got-to-be-kidding look. "Well, I can't fit all that on your license. I'll put it all in the computer, but we'll just have to remove one of those middle names, ok?"
During Celebrate Your Name Week, no matter what your moniker, whether your middle name comes from old Uncle Ebenezer or mom blesses you with the name Princess Beyonce, be proud of what you're called. It's a part of who you are!