Monday, 26 July 2010

Names... Part II

A few years ago I took stock of my name and how it reflected my identity.

As a teacher for 18 years of my adult life, I was referred to as Mrs. X, Miss X, or Ms X. (insert last name, or sometimes last initial for X) I also have a last name that can really rhyme, so there were a few who would call me Mrs. Y (insert rhyme), this would happen if they knew me well. The rhyme was perfectly fine, so I’d just laugh. Sometimes the students would just call me ‘Teach,’ and in the early years when I taught small people, I was often referred to as ‘Teacher,’ while a few slipped up and called me ‘Mom,’ or ‘Mommy.’

As a parent I’ve been called Mom, Mommy, Mama, and when the kids were annoyed with me, Mother. (Draw out the first syllable like a teenager might and you’ve got it.)

My husband calls me by my first name, but when the kids were younger, he often referred to me as in “Ask mom what she thinks...” He also calls me ‘Honey,’ ‘Sweetheart,’ and other nice names.

However, at a certain point a few years ago, I realized that between work and home I rarely heard my own first name. In fact, it was getting to the point that if people called me by name I rarely realized they were talking to me.

The problem wasn’t with the roles I had; I was fine being a mom, teacher, wife, aunt, sister, and daughter, etc. The issue was that most of those roles did not call me by my first name on any regular basis.

Does it matter if a person isn’t called by her first name? For me it is important. It is who I am. I can certainly find my identity without hearing my name, but it is nice to actually have it as a part of who I am. It is a part of what defines me. I like my name, too, so it’s a good one to use.

Lisa is who I am and will be through all of the roles in my life. Lisa is the person I was before I was a teacher, wife, and mother. Lisa is the person I am now in a new career, as a mother of two grown children, and still as a wife. It is as much a part of my identity as all of the other things I am. For awhile I lost that part of my identity by being the other things for so many people.

I know that identity isn’t regained by being called by your first name, but it does remind me of who I am, and I also need to take care of who I am as much as I need and want to be a mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt and friend.

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