Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What's in a name?

Currently: sitting in the Perch, not reading for Armstrong's seminar tomorrow
Currently listening to: Iron & Wine

What's in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.

My first name, albeit an uncommon spelling, is fairly common; my last name, however, proves fairly unique. Due to the latter of these two facts I have spent most of my life answering to nicknames. I mean, with a last name like Waeckerle, what could I expect, right? Right.

I've got more nicknames than I can count. Some stem solely from my last name, others from a combination of the two. Some are specific to certain people, others widely claimed. Some possess stories, others strictly borne from convenience.

In any given day, I could answer to a multitude of names.
But my parents gave me one (okay, technically two).
My name is Krysten.
Not Kwack. Not Wack. Not Quack.

Here's a moment of vulnerability for you: I am truly struggling with my sense of self and what that means; I think that plays into this whole thing about to what I answer. Please don't misunderstand me, I know (in most cases) nicknames are a sign of endearment; I have nicknames for some of my friends. But I also recognize the power a name holds, the power naming something holds.

This summer I learned the Portuguese language does not contain the letter K; which meant they could not say my dear friend's name. How difficult to not be able to hear your name, to have that part of your identity stripped from you.
Am I comparing constantly being identified with a nickname to life in a foreign country whose people cannot express your name? No. But I am beginning to understand a small piece of that feeling.

So, what is in a name?
Call me Kwack or Krysten, I'm the same person, right?
I'm not so sure.

Habit ensures I will always be referred to through nicknames. But maybe, just maybe, this will prompt someone to call me by name at least one out of every ten times.

1 comment:

Lizzie said...

and that's why i hate being called fritz.

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