1st Blog Assignment for my Teaching High School Methods class:

What does your name mean?

'Jacky'--what does it mean? I dunno.

I used to hate my name. I think every kid goes through a phase like that, where they resent their name and adopt a new one for a while. Even so, I didn't just hate my name because I found something prettier or because I was tired of it. I hated it because it sounds coarse and plain, like you're trying to spit it out of your mouth when you speak it. If I were to discard my name, it would be for good.

And then a professor called me 'Jaclyn', the name that really belonged to me but had been scratched out by my parents, who insisted on a nickname instead. No one here--or anywhere, for that matter--knew me as 'Jaclyn'. But this was all new, this magical place called college, and I could start all over. I could lose 'Jacky' and become 'Jaclyn', which requires fancy flourishes of ink when written by hand and sounds romantically French when paired with my last name DuBois.

In college, they all call me 'Jaclyn'. The sound of this new name rings pleasantly in my ears.

And yet, I am still Jacky.

I know now that it doesn't matter what they call me, though, because I have a different name on the inside, something sacred that nature and God and other souls call me, a non-nickname and a never-been-verbalized name. I feel this name on the inside and I understand now that it's too precious to speak aloud.

So call me 'Jacky' or 'Jaclyn' or 'Ellen' or 'Steve', it doesn't matter. On the inside, I am more than my name, a monstrous yet lovely soul called something I'll never know how to speak.



i'm naming my future daughter after you.

your name is magical.

laurialigns said...

I have always thought both Jackie and Jaclyn were lovely, sophisticated names, but I can certainly relate to disliking my own. I love your idea that we have a secret one which truly defines us.