(This is the sixth in a series of posts following Tyla Tharp’s book The Creative Habit. All the previous posts are collected in the Summer Blog Project category.)
#6. Pick A New Name
Hey! What happened to #5? It requires going somewhere to watch people and I won’t be able to do it until next week, so I thought I would skip ahead.
This exercise is to imagine your ideal name, and what it would say about you. It is about identity, who you are and who you aim to be.
I like my last name, Badyrka. I got it when I got married. It was important to my husband that I change my name. I didn’t really care one way or another, but it was important to him, and that was good enough for me. It means we are a family.
The only drawback to the name is that Badyrka is unusual and hard to spell. But lots of last names are hard to spell. We are often amused by how people try to pronounce it, people get thrown by that “y” in the middle.
On the one hand, I like it. Miriam is a beautiful and historical name. It is a very ancient form of Mary. In the Old Testament, Miriam is the name of Moses’ sister, who sets him afloat in the basket. She is also a priestess to her people.
My mom told me that she didn’t take it from the bible, but that she got it from a novel she was reading in the hospital when I was born. Unfortunately, she didn’t remember the name of the book. I have always been curious.
On the other hand, I hate it. Miriam means sorrow or bitterness. Who would name their child that? I don’t know what my parents were thinking! Miriam was also my “uh-oh I am in trouble” name. Plus, it is a fairly uncommon name. I often get called Marion or Marianne. No one can spell it either.
The combination with Badyrka means I have an unpronounceable name that no one can spell.
My nickname is Mimi, which I like and am used to being called. I didn’t even know I had any other name until I was in Kindergarten. It is a long story, which I won’t bore you with.
I have never really thought about it before, but I would be happy to change my first name. I thought about it for a long time, and I realized that I wouldn’t want to change to a completely new name, or name myself after someone I admire. I would choose to be called Marie.
Marie is still a variation of Mary. Marie Badyrka sounds pretty good. It still starts with an M, so I wouldn’t have to change my unreadable scrawl of a signature. Marie is not totally common, like Mary, but it is not so unusual that people need lessons in how to say or spell it. Plus, it is French, my fantasy nationality. Sophistocated, artistic, fashionable, and perhaps a bit snobbish.
All things considered, I think my choice says that I am pretty happy to be me, but I wouldn’t mind tweaking myself a bit.