What's In a Name? What Does Your Name Mean to You?
For nearly forty years I never felt like a Barbara. I felt like Barb, but not Barbara. Nor did I like being called Barbie. Barbara conjured up in my mind this graceful, beautiful, elegant lady. I didn’t feel confident in that picture in my mind and applying it to me. Barbie conjured up, well, the image of the Barbie Doll as that is what I grew up, what I was to inspire to be, right?
When I was born my mom wanted to name me Roberta. My dad wanted to name me Barbara. It’s no secret to my mom that I am glad my dad won. Though I wasn’t comfortable with being called Barbara for most of my life. But in all fairness, my mom wanted in part to name me Roberta so my nickname would be Bobbie. Ironically enough, when my oldest niece was young she couldn’t pronounce her R’s very well, so auntie Barbie sounded like Auntie Bobbie… and it stuck. I love it and loved being called Bobbie by my nieces. Still do to this day. So my mom’s wish, in a way, came true.
So back to Barbara. Barbara Gail is my full name. You don’t come across the combination too often. As I went through life coaching back in 2005 I began to grow as a person spiritually, though had been exploring that for four years previous to that. I wondered why I felt different and not all that into religion and being boxed into a label of what religion choices can mean. I wanted to be free to be me and my own way of thinking that brought me peace. As I went through my life coaching experience I discovered many things about myself. Many things I liked and finally felt good about in myself.
As I began exploring what was important to me and started living into that it seemed as all of a sudden I felt like a Barbara. Was she there all along, buried underneath a sea of doubts and lack of self confidence? Yes, indeed, that was the case. While I realize a name is a just a name, I can’t help but think of how many people struggle with liking their name and what it means for them personally. How we put images or conjure up thoughts of what that name is meant to be. But who we are really is not in our name.
But with all that said, I’m happy to say I fully love my name now, which to me means I accept and love me for me. Not easy some days, but happy to say most days I feel so much more comfortable in my skin than I’ve ever felt. It is a good place to be.
I. AM. Barbara Gail.
Award winning author of Frankie the Walk 'N Roll Dog book series