They Should Have Asked Me First


As a child I hated my name.  HATED IT!  I thought it was the epitome of boring.  Plain vanilla.  Worthy of a plaque in the Girl’s Boring Hall of Fame.  I thought I was more exciting than the name bestowed upon me; more deserving of an extraordinary, special-sparkly name.

Cathy or Catherine, my given name.  Blah.  There wasn’t even good rhyming that went with Cathy.  Cathy, Bathy, Wathy, Tathy…no real words rhymed with Cathy!

I was annoyed.

I longed for something more brilliant, more happening, more cool.

I was suffocating in a deep sea of Cathy’s and Catherine’s; I knew it was holding me back.  From what?  I don’t really know.

But I would dream for hours about how unique I would be if my name was different.

“Just change it.”  I would say.

There were two names I felt would give me the life of pink poodles, ballet slippers and candyland castles I KNEW existed and I completely deserved.

For me these names were Millicent and Penelope.  Don’t laugh!  I LOVED these names.  I think Penelope has even made a comeback.

With these names I wouldn’t have been just Queen for a day, but Queen for life!  Yes, I would have. I know it.

I knew having these names would allow me to aspire to the extravagant life of an ice skating princess, known for wearing a pink feather boa and glittery tiara.  I would have long locks of golden hair that would be combed daily (by someone) with a diamond-studded brush.

Yes, now I know I was in fantasy land.  But back then, it was such a good escape.

Did you want to change your name as a child?  I promise I won’t laugh at your choice.

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42 Comments

  1. Cheryl 1

    Oh, did I ever! I always hated my name: Cheryl. I desperately wanted a name that lent itself to a nickname, preferably something that ended in -y or -ie or -ee. If I could have changed it when I was 9 years old, I would have become Christie. A nice, generic, easily nicknameable name.

    I’m 32 years old now. I still don’t like the name Cheryl, but at the same time, I can’t think of another name I’d rather be. ; )

    Reply
  2. It’s like you wrote this blog post about me…

    I always hated having the name Jennifer. It seemed that every girl born between 1968 and 1974 was named Jennifer, so it wasn’t unique. I was never the only one in any of my school classes, straight up to high school.

    My family always called me Jenny, which I thought would sound stupid when I got old. Who knows an old lady named Jenny? It sounded childish. I always wanted a name like Rebecca or Julia, something that sounded romantic and beautiful, like I should be wandering the moors of England.

    But as I’ve grown older I’ve come to appreciate my name. Now I love it when I hear my grandparents or cousins call me Jenny. It makes me feel like a kid again.

    Reply
  3. So true. I am a Lauren, and just know that there were no Lauren’s out there 48 years ago. I wanted to be Priscilla. God do I love my name now! And, I have a wonderful friend named Cathy…I love the name.

    Reply
  4. blair 4

    Oh yes, I sure did.
    Having the name Blair in a Latin American country was really hard.
    I remember sittign with my father one day talking about this very thing and giving him teh options of Blanca or Reina (the last being a bit tongue in cheek).

    Reply
  5. Geri 5

    Cathy is COOL…
    Just think if you were outside playing with your friends and you heard this from down the street your mom yelling to the top of her lungs….”GERALDINE ANITA…DINNER TIME..TIME TO EAT…I’M ONLY GOING TO CALL YOU ONE MORE TIME! GERALDINE ANITA…LOL…you can imagine how i felt…I always wondered WHY…did and who named me….until I asked one day and my mom said that my dad named me after my mom’s baby sister..well, well now there are “2 Geraldines” the world is COOL…I loved my auntie…that was all it took knowing why. When I entered 3rd grade I did meet 2 more…so it hasn’t been all that bad…but I think I linked the “scream for dinner”…and the name screeching…was the killer. When I entered school I told the teacher just call me GERI…and that has stuck…enough from Florida…

    Reply
  6. Meg 6

    Okay, promise not to laugh…I was adopted, and originally my name was Cheryl Denise…then my adopted parents named me…are you ready…(?)?….drum roll….MARGARITA!!! Just like the drink! I absolutely HATED that name growing up! My granddad called me Bobby thank God…we would be out working cattle and I could just hear someone calling out for Margarita…eeeeeeew!!!! NOT your everyday cowgirl name, that’s for sure! Bobby suited me a lot better. Then, it became Marjie, Lord help me…eventually it became Meg when I was around 20 I guess and it stuck every since, and I like it. I have just recently embraced the Margarita in me…and now even refer to myself as Megarita, lol!

    Reply
  7. I don’t think there’s every been an abundance of Dianes in the world. It’s not an awful name, but I really didn’t like it at first. I really wanted a common name… a Susan, a Jane, a Mary.
    Then when we lived on the mountain I used to stand at the edge with my hair flying in the breeze and look out over all the tundra and imagine a name that had meaning. Windy. I wanted to be called Windy. I family humored me for a few months and then told me to get over it.
    Later on, I met a Colleen and thought that was the coolest name in the world!

    I am the epitomy of indecisive!

    Reply
  8. Oh yes, I am yet another Jennifer born between ’68 and ’74, and I so hated my name! Boring, and there were always two or three others in every class. Then one day when I was 14 I was leafing through an old name etymology book I realized my name was from old Welsh: Gwenhwyfar Lynn meant “lake of the white mist.” I had been accidentally named in the language of my grandmother’s ancestors.

    Reply
  9. As a fellow Kathy, let me say, I feel your pain, sista! I always hated being called Kathy. It was SO common in the 60’s, I was always one of at least three Kathy/Cathy/Cathie’s in any classroom.

    My sister was named Kelly and there weren’t any other Kelly’s in our predominately Scandinavian area. I always envied that.

    My mom said she had seriously considered naming me after the month I was born (September) but she said September combined with my last name sounded like a stripper’s name!

    I’ve wondered, if I had a more exotic name would my shy personality of childhood been different…if I wasn’t just part of a huge group of people with the same name. Even today when I call someone on the phone, I always give my first AND last name -I just assume no one will know who it is, otherwise.

    Reply
  10. I always wished that my name was Anastacia. I thought for sure that if I was Anastacia my life would be news worthy! Of course in my head everyone would pronounce it the russian way…. with soft “a” sounds…. The closest I ever got to changing my name was when I went from using my middle name as my first name (If she didnt like my first name, why did my mom give it to me?) to using my first name for it’s given purpose… Even that change angered my family… and it was already on my birth certificate! I wasnt changing my identity! I was using the one I was born with! Oh well. I still go by my first name and not my middle name… so I guess I win!

    Reply
  11. Tammy 11

    Tammy Jammy Whammy. Ugh, HATED my name as a kid. I wanted to be MONIQUE. It was exotic and no one was named Monique – Oui la la.

    But that would never happened so then I changed the spelling – Tami, Tammi, Tammie – then back to the original with a Y. There were a couple of insufferable years in the 80’s of people calling me Tammy Faye (because of Tammy Faye Baker). Groan.

    The worst name ever though – knew a girl in high school named Candace, she went by Candy. Until she married Steve Dick. Yup, Candy Dick. I think she goes by Candace now. LMAO

    BTW, you’ve been tagged!

    Reply
  12. Oh, I feel your pain. It’s all my grandmother’s fault. She had absolutely no imagination when it came to names. Her children had such inspired names as Jim, Sue, Chris, Mary, George, Janis, Mark, and, yes, a Cathy. The most interesting name among them was Alton–after Grandaddy, Naron Alton–which was shortened to boring ol’ Al. My mom, Mary, didn’t even get a middle name. Isn’t that just the saddest thing? I think that’s why she felt especially proud when she came up with Jennifer Rebecca. To someone named Mary Nomiddlename, it sounded beautiful, exotic, and syllable-rich.

    I hated my name. In kindergarten I was known as Little Jennifer since the other Jennifer was Big Jennifer. (She hated it, too.) I longed for a more glamorous name and in second grade I settled on Kelly, the name of the *it* girl in my class. In fifth grade I found Katherine (with a K!) a very attractive name. My classmate Katherine must have been popular because she had such a fantastic name. I also admired the name Tajia for the same reason and I swore I would one day name my daughter Priscilla. (Both daughters are glad I tired of that name.) When it came time to name my own kids, I decided I would have more imagination and flare than my parents and grandparents. Unfortunately, having a boring, common name dooms a child to lack of imagination in this area. It’s a vicious, never-ending cycle and my grandchildren will likely be just as unfortunate.

    Reply
  13. Harmony 13

    When I was young, I desperately loved the name Veronica. It sounded so rich and smooth. Obviously (to me) a person with the name, Veronica was the epitome of cool!

    Reply
  14. Don’t get me started on all the things that rhyme with Maggie.

    I wanted to be Cassie.

    Come to think of it, that’s got some pretty bad rhyming options, too…

    Reply
  15. Tammy 15

    My ex-husband had an aunt named…. hold onto your seats people…

    ISOPHINA. ICE-O-FEEN-AH

    Bwahahaha.

    Reply
  16. ALF 16

    Oh, I didn’t like my name growing up. I thought it was too boring. AND, it only has 2 different letters – A and N. That was way boring. I wanted a plethora of letters. I don’t know what name I wanted, I just know I wanted one with more, different letters.

    Now I think Anna is a perfectly fine name.

    Reply
  17. ALF 17

    Wait. Now I remember. I wanted my name to be Alexandra Jane.

    Reply
  18. Kate 18

    Promise not to laugh?

    I love my name. It’s Katy. When I turned 21, I changed it to Kate because it sounded oh so much more sophisticated. I never had a middle name. Don’t know why.

    The name I wanted to change was my Confirmation name. I was raised in a very Catholic household and confirmed at the age of 8. My mother told us we had 3 names to choose from, and they were Mary, Maria or Marie. Oi vey.

    What I really wanted was Bernadette.

    Reply
  19. Jessica 19

    Well, Jessica is such a boring name, in class a teacher calls on Jessica, and I’m like which one? There are like five in my class. I sometimes wish that my name was Ellie or something cool like that.

    Reply
  20. Daisy 20

    That’s so funny, Kate! I had friend from high school whose middle name was Bernadette which she hated. When she was being affectionately teased, the boys would call her Bernie which she also hated.

    I always wanted something besides Daisy except when I was around my grandmother, also named Daisy, whom I absolutely adored. Away from my grandmother, “Daisy” sounded too Southern and redneck and simple to me. My middle name is much more common and a little more sophisticated sounding. I always wanted to go by it – but no matter how hard I tried, it never stuck quite like Daisy did. That’s Alabama for you.

    Reply
  21. Anna 21

    My name is Anna, which I thought was okay, but all through middle school I longed to be named Allegra.

    I thought it was beautiful and would make me a music prodigy or something.

    Reply
  22. Lucille 22

    I wanted to change my name to Cynthia because that was John Lennon’s wife’s (at the time) name.

    Reply
  23. robin 23

    I think (almost) EVERYONE dislikes their name at some point or another, to some degree. I didn’t completely hate my first name, although I wasn’t a fan of the elementary school jokes (rockin robin, robin hood, batman’s buddy…). I was more indifferent to it. what I hated was my last name. Sbragia. no one could pronounce it, and boy are kids creative! i learned what a scrotum was in 5th grade because some clever kid decided to change my last name!
    I decided i loved my last name when i was about 18, and still love it. didn’t want to change it when i got married!

    Reply
  24. Cara 24

    I love the name penelope! I never did want to change my name though… hmm.

    Reply
  25. Kathy from NJ 25

    My name is Kathleen Alice but my beloved grandfather always called me Kathleen Mavourneen (you can Google it). I was not all that fond of Alice and told my parents I was going to change it to Mavourneen when I turned 21. I’m still Kathleen Alice and quite happy with my name.

    Reply
  26. Krissy 26

    Sorry, I’m laughing at your wannabe names…..ha, ha, ha!!!

    My mom almost named me Yolanda! I would have slit my wrists by now! Just kidding…but I am so not a Yolanda!

    Reply
  27. krysta 27

    I always loved Krysta because no one I knew had that name. But if I had to change it I would change my name to Zoe.

    Reply
  28. Grace 28

    My parents named me Grace Elizabeth (after Princess Grace of Monaco and Queen Elizabeth). They were immigrants who learned English by listening to the radio and reading newspapers and my name reflected that. That always made it a bit special to me but Grace is not my favourite name in the world.

    Reply
  29. I hated my name. No one ever spelled or said it right. I wished I could change it to my middle name, Christine. I thought Christine was someone prettier, smarter and more sophisticated than Ammie.

    Reply
  30. Okay ..I’m jumping on the bandwagon.

    I have always hated my name “Tanya”.

    Everyone calls me Tommy, Toni, Tammy, Tina and never gets it right.

    The worst part is though … my maiden name is Wyatt and I went through life being called Wyatt Earp.

    Now it’s Siekman … and people say, “Do you pronouce that, SICK-MAN?

    I wish I was just Jane, Sally, Susie or anything but Tanya. **sigh** .. it could be worse, I’m all adjusted to it now! LOL.

    Tanya

    Reply
  31. TanyaK 31

    I’m a Tanya too and I have always loved my name. It doesn’t rhyme with anything gross and the only issue is in how to spell it.

    I was adopted and my birth mother found me when I was 30. I learned my name would have been Michelle Marie Miller had she kept me.

    AAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!

    Reply
  32. My baby very nearly became a Kathrynn! We even brought the letters “KATE” to hang on her nursery wall when we moved to England. It was changed in the hospital, and I still have some regrets. Her initials are still K.D., so technically, she can be called Katie, right? I HATED (still do) my name and ropped part of it when I got married. I only sign “J” on my art and letters.

    Reply
  33. Vonda 33

    Oh how I have always disliked my name. My parents let a good friend of theirs pick my name. I don’t know why….but mom said if she hadn’t she had picked out Melody. I don’t like that either. But with an unusual name I was never mistaken for anyone else and am still not. My dad always called me Vonnie but he was the only one. I always wanted to be Mary.

    Reply
  34. Kristen 34

    I don’t think Kristen is that difficult, however, no one ever gets it right. It’s either Kristie, Kirsten, Kristian, or some other version. I answer to them all now.

    File this under “Thank goodness this isn’t me”…I knew a lady named Undra. Two thumbs up to the person that can guess her MARRIED last name. Yup, it was Ware…..Undra Ware. Hehehehe!

    Reply
  35. Carmen 35

    Growing up, I always hated the name Carmen. It was just so different from everyone else in my white middle-class area. All I wanted was to be a Sarah, Jennifer or Elizabeth.

    I now love my name because it is so unusual (for a non-Hispanic person, that is). Although I do tire a bit of the Carmen San Diego, Carmen Miranda & Carmen Electra jokes…

    Reply
  36. Ruth 36

    I never liked the name Ruth either. partly because it was so easy to tease me with- woof, roof, tooth…etc
    also you couldn’t shorten it or make a cute little nickname with it.

    I used to love the name Sarah-jane for some reason, two fairly ordinary names but together more ‘special’. and you know how you sometimes think of words or numbers in colours? well for me ‘sarah’ is yellow and jane is purple, so its a bright coloured name…

    yes. i am completely mad…

    Reply
  37. cassie 37

    Maggie, dammit: as a Cassie, I must inform you of all the HORRIBLE nicknames I’ve gained over the years, in an attempt, of course, to enlighten you to the error of your thinking.
    Cassiopeia (especially popular in fifth grade when studying constellations)
    Cass-hole
    Cassopolis
    Casserole
    Cassafras
    Lassie

    and … there’s always the problem of accidentally referring to yourself as “assie” when typing too fast
    I wanted to be Sarah.

    Reply
  38. I wanted my name to Anastasia. I saw her as a tragic, romantic, gorgeous raven-haired woman running through fields of flowers in a ball gown and tiara. She lived in a haunted palace with some guy named Steven, which was my favorite name for men when I was about 9.

    Kids called me Gertrude or Gretel until high school when I became Morticia.

    Reply
  39. Tara 39

    I like my name. Somehow I dont think it suits me quite right, as all the other Tara’s I know are very quiet and shy. I love my nicknames though: TARA-dactyl ( I love dinosaurs) terrible Tara (a joke) and Einstein (vey similar to my last name) and around Halloween Frankenstein (I <3 Halloween). The only one I didnt like was A RAT (Tara backwards). I put a stop to that really fast, because like I said before… I am not quiet or shy. :)

    Reply
  40. Athena 40

    As a child, I hated my given name because it was so different. However, I didn’t need to change my given name because everyone started calling me Amy. I still scratch my head about how they chose to call me that because it’s so far from my actual name.

    As I grew older, I learned to love my given name(Athena)because it is uncommon, and now, I can’t stand when people call me Amy, though my family and some friends still do.

    Reply
  41. phillygirl64 41

    I would have killed for Cathy! I still might…lol

    Reply
  42. Wow! This was me. Tammy- Tammie.
    Only I wanted to be called Jasmine. I think…I’m sure there were others. Now I love going by my formal name: Tamela ;-D

    Reply

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