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The Names We Were Given By Someone Else Before They Knew Us

·311 words·2 mins

I once had a friend named Dawn. She was sweet, vibrant. Her name really suited her. Seeing her was like watching the sun rise.

That doesn’t happen all that often. A lot of times, people carry around names that seem like a random assignation rather than something that really suits them. Because that’s usually how people get their names. Their parents make something up and arbitrarily slap that name onto their kid. Sometimes this is some hope or dream they have for the little person they don’t know yet. An idea about the personality that their child may have.

Other times it’s a tribute to someone they want to honor.

And sometimes? It’s literally just whatever they can think of.

So when someone’s name and their personality align, it’s always a treat.

That’s why I was shocked when someone turned to me and said, “You know, she had her name changed to Dawn. Her real name is Ricky.”

I shook my head. “Nah, she’s Dawn.”

It’s Strange That Our First Name Is Considered Our “Real” One

When you think about it, it’s strange that people call the first name we have our “real name.” That name is more about a person’s parents than anything else. How much do you really learn about someone from knowing the name they were given by someone else before anyone even knew them? Often before they even existed?

(I know people who grew up knowing what they wanted to name their children one day when they were still children themselves.)

Honestly, it’s more than a little strange.

Why is it that our parents’ hopes and dreams for us are considered “real” by society but the actual lives we live — and the choices we make — are somehow fake?

Anyway, she’s Dawn to me. Always has been. Always will be.

That name actually suits her.


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