Friday, September 2, 2011

What is in a name?: A letter to Juliet.

William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet
"What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;" -Juliet (Romoe and Juliet)

Dear Juliet,

You pose an interesting question. What IS in a name? Does changing your name really change who you are? How you feel? I am here to tell you that names do in fact hold a significant amount of power.

Every day your name is used hundreds of times. It is among the first words spoken during an introduction. When you send emails it sits in your signature, at the end of letters and when written in cursive can serve as pledge... a contractual promise to others. Nothing is legal without at least one signature. A name to seal a promise. When a woman changes her name and takes that of her husband it shows that she has made a pledge to him. The groom gives his name as a gift, to let his wife know that he wants to be bound to her. Now they are identified together as a unit.

A name identifies you. Like it or not words do carry more than just s dictionary definition, they hold meaning. Names are no different. They are a part of history, your family tree and your life. It is proven that bearing certain names can bring more prosperity. On the flip side there are also names that are shown to hinder a persons success in the workplace. There is a reason the use of the name Adolf, once popular in Germany, is practically extinct there now.

Now lets talk about this rose. If it were called a poopchute would the smell change? No, but poopchute isn't very poetic is it? Would a flower with a less melodious name be the subject of prose, sonnets or song? I argue it would not. Like the rose, I am the same under any name. Rebecca A or Rebecca X, I am always Becca... but under the name X I have suffered greatly. I am associated with a disgusting man and his crimes. I made the choice to not pass on this name to my daughter, she deserves better. I live for the day to be legally who I am spiritually "Rebecca A". To be set free from the name that has brought me no happiness.

You see Juliet. A name may not be everything, but it is something. I believe it is something so dearly important that a person should fight for it. I know this may be a hard concept to grasp as a 13-15 year old girl.... but I hope someday my daughter will look at me and thank me for giving her not only my maiden name, but my middle name. I know she will wear the name proudly and build on the already deep meaning they hold within our family.

In closing, Juliet, I suggest not getting to wrapped up in this Romeo character. Word on the street is that last week he was in love with some chick named Rosaline... just saying maybe you two should take it slow.

Sincerely the woman formally known and hopefully soon to be known as again,

Rebecca A

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