Do You Like Your Name?

Book Discussion

In Eleanor Brown's The Weird Sisters, the three sisters felt defined by their names and their roles within the family dynamic. Due to being named after characters in Shakespeare's plays, the sisters felt that their roles had been chosen for them.

We wear our names heavily. And though we have tried to escape their influence, they have seeped into us, and we find ourselves living their patterns again and again. p. 63

I've been thinking a lot about names lately. Many of my friends are pregnant or know someone who is so there's been a lot of baby name talk. A friend whose name has a slightly unusual spelling and who goes by her second name due to family tradition has decided she wants neither for her child. I am, of course, ever helpful by suggesting names that I've made up and that I know she will never name her child just to make her laugh.

Credit: Quinn Dombrowski

Despite my silliness, I know that names are serious business. My name was not supposed to be my name. My mother had another chosen for me but then some neighbours named their child that name. (I do not believe it was intentional, just bad timing for my mother.) My eldest sister was given the task of coming up with a new name and well, given that she was a fairly young teen I'm glad she settled on Karen and not something a bit more wacky. (Think about what names you thought were awesome when you were 13. See what I mean?) My name and I have gotten along really well. The most I have to complain about is that I went to school with a fair number of other Karens in addition to Darrens and Erins which mean you really have to pay attention in class or you'd be answering when you weren't actually called on... a bit of a hazard for someone who was prone to daydreaming.

Unlike the Andreas sister, I never felt like my name defined my role. Does it define me? Perhaps, though I know a number of other Karens, even had one as a roommate, and I can't say I've noticed any Karen-specific qualities about us.

Do you like your name? Do you feel it defines you?


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