Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Name That Blogger

What's in a name? Everything!

I've often wondered how popular the Ford Mustang would have been if they had called it the Gelding.

I once looked up Susan in a baby name book. It said that "Susans are little and cute and bake cookies."


I am small by most standards and was always placed front row, center, in grade school class pictures, holding the sign, but I consider myself a tall person traveling incognito. And cute is a cop-out. Either call me beautiful or (gasp) ugly, but cute has no teeth. Pug puppies are cute. And koala bears. Calling a woman cute trivializes her.

I thought maybe my despised middle name would offer a decent fall-back, but again, no. What were my parents thinking? Were they thinking at all?

"Roberta moans a lot. At first you can't believe your luck but then you begin to wonder if she does this with everybody."

They should have stuck with the original plan and named me Stephen. My brother had worked out so well that they were hoping for another boy. My father knew enough about science to understand that the onus rested on him so he must have felt utterly betrayed when all his efforts produced -- me.

I remember my parents having an animated discussion about biology at the dinner table. My aunt's husband had commanded her to give birth to a boy as they already had a girl. If she disobeyed him, he had threatened to take their first child, my cousin Carla, aka "Princess" long before anyone had ever heard of Jewish American Princesses, and my aunt could take “it,” the new baby, and go somewhere else.

My father proclaimed that Uncle Al was an idiot. “The father determines the sex of the child,” he exulted, bursting with this indisputable evidence of male superiority of which Uncle Al was nonetheless ignorant.

The idea that men could actually decide if they wanted a boy or a girl and their wives had to obey them didn’t surprise me at all. My father had been God all my life.

Aunt Doris in an act of unthinkable rebellion gave birth to a second daughter. They named her Billie because she was supposed to be a boy.

My mother, who was apparently the more adaptable of my parents, tantalized herself with the delusion that I could be her in-house Shirley Temple, minus all the expensive singing and dancing lessons as my father didn't believe he owed me anything extra if I was going to be so perverse as to be a girl at all.

Unfortunately for her, I turned out to be the kind of girl who climbed trees and liked to get dirty rather than posing vacuously like Carla in her party dresses and perfect corkscrew curls. Besides, I didn't have any party dresses and I especially and conspicuously did not have patent leather maryjanes. I owned a wardrobe of my brother's outgrown t-shirts and fly-front pants, so what did they expect?

I did everything I could to console them but grow a penis, which was clearly beyond my control.

My mother told me often that in ancient China, people killed girl babies because nobody wanted them. I was given the idea that I was supposed to be grateful to my parents because they had let me live. Not knowing the statute of limitations on this amazing reprieve made me uneasy, but since I had no other frame of reference I assumed it was normal.

It never occurred to me that we were not Chinese.

At six, my friend Mary Ann and I changed our names to Dorothy and Patricia, such beautiful names, far more exotic and fancy than our own. She became Patricia and I told my mother that henceforth I would answer only to Dorothy. She discovered that I was quite serious when she called me home to dinner.

“Susan,” she yelled. “Su-san! Come in now.”

Nothing happened.

“S-U-S-A-N !” she screamed. “It’s din-ner time.”

“I’m Dorothy,” I screamed back from the top of the magnolia tree which could barely hold my weight.

My mother was mortified because all the neighbors knew that her daughter was named Susan. Since she obsessed about things like that, she couldn't very well call me Dorothy; they’d think she’d gone off her rocker.

She upped the decibel level. “SUSAN ROBERTA CAHN!” she shouted in her overdrive voice.

I stayed in my tree.

This went on for weeks. I would like to say that I got to miss a lot of lousy dinners but my parents were really big on eating. Every night I was dragged inside and plunked down, unrepentant, at table.

Eventually I got tired of this and told them my name was Patricia.

My best friend Lynda lived down the street. She used to be Linda, but her parents let her change it to the fancier spelling with a “y”, which was not lost on me.

Lynda was one day older than I. She had a brother named John, a Cocker Spaniel named Jingles, and a mother who looked like the broomstick witch in The Wizard of Oz and was just as mean.

One day, I rang their bell to call for Lynda and her mother sprang out at me, grabbed my little paw and bit my index finger hard.

“That’s for biting Lynda,” she said. “Now you know what it feels like.”

I was shocked that she would bite a child as I really thought we were safe from that kind of thing. And I never bit Lynda or anyone else. I didn't tell my parents because I was sure they'd think I did and punish me.

I will state here unequivocally that to this day, I have never bitten anyone. Even my brother. But more importantly, my parents are dead and I am free to change my name without offending them.

While I have made an accommodation to Susan, which is not loathsome like Roberta, merely bland and lacking even a smidgen of the exotic, I have decided that I need a new label for the duration of my time on this earthly coil.

During many years spent in the Native American world, I was given a childhood name, Follows a Dream, and an adult name, Crazy Heart. (Crazy does not mean wacko in Native America, but mystical.) The medicine elders who bestowed these names on me are walking the spirit trail and I'm ready for an elder name myself now.

I am accepting suggestions and will consider all names that can be performed in public with the exception of feminized masculine names like Roberta.


Anonymous said...

I don't know about suggesting a name, but I have always liked solid names. Nothing wrong with Susan. It's not even a cute name, so I don't know what they are tlaking about.

But oh my God - Lynda had an insane mother!!

thailandchani said...

I really like this post! :)

Names: Mine never resonated with me, either, and I changed it at least a dozen times. From the plain to the exotic. It usually was a reflection on my own lack of identity as I chose names from other people I liked and admired.

I like Susan.. but what matters is whether you like it.

So do we get to name you?


That's the first name that comes to mind. It is a variation of Susan with an exotic twist.

Whaddaya think? :)

seventh sister said...

You are right about 'cute'. Remember the Susan Sarandon line in Bull Druahm? "Cute! Cute is for baby ducks!"

I have never liked my name either. My parents decided that my name would be Jackie Lynn no matter which gender I was. I have a spirit name which has changed as I have grown but I rarely reveal it. I used to want to be named Jennifer but that is way to common place nowadays.

I know a woman who changed (not legally) her name and although we were somewhat close for a while, I'm not sure she ever told her legal name to me. I do know it but I'm not sure how. I saw her call her self different things such as goddess, priestess, etc. and eventually realized that she was doing so because she did not accept herself as she was.

We are pretty much saddled with the names our parents give us unless we go into the witness protection program. It is usually to much of a hassle to change it otherwise. Good luck on our name quest.

RED MOJO said...

Georgette, Henrietta, BillyBobina, Pauline, Robin, Christine, Justine, okay, I know these are men's names with an ette or an ine.

How about names for both genders, Jesse, Shane, Sean, Sunny, Jamie, Reese or Geri.

Or if you want really girly, there's Penelope, Angelina, Rosemary, Gwendalyn, Matilda

I prefer short neat girl's names like Sara, Molly, Tara, Chloe, Rachael, Jodi and Sandy and Susan, oh yeah, you already have that one.

Maybe one of the cool new ones that sounds more like a last name, like Madison, Taylor, or Johnson (just kidding-not Johnson).

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

That's TOUGH!
I'll have to think on this a bit.

It *does* need to be a culmination of all the things that you are, and that's a lot.


Wise & Intelligent
Quick witted
Realistic Dreamer
Very strong
Slightly temperamental

That all equals Greek Goddess, hands down.

I'll give you my favorite Greek Goddess name.


It's also a princess name, and if you were a princess you'd be P. Leia (sp?) from Star Wars, so that's a good fit, I think.

What say you, lady?


Scarlett & Viaggiatore

PS ~ I was hoping you'd read my post 'My Love' from earlier in the month, I'd like your thoughts on it. Thanks.

Judith said...

I hated being called Judy when I was a kid, it was too sweet and wholesome/goody two shoes I thought. Judith seemed more stronger and it was actually the name I was given.. Your name in the irish translation is Súsanna which is pronounced SOO suh na- not so different but I do understand you wanting to get away from the cute and cookie association..

thailandchani said...

How about a Thai name?










Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Good ones Chani, I like that!

These, in particular:


What do they mean?

Scarlett & V.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Gee, you think? I'll bet she had a house fall on her in a tornado eventually.


I like Susan, too, objectively. It just doesn't feel quite like me, whoever that is.

If my parents had coughed up two more letters to make it Susanna, I would have been happy. Two lousy letters. Was that too much to ask?

Shoshana means lily in Hebrew, or sometimes Rose. It's beautiful.


I had a friend in college who was the youngest of 7 girls. Before her birth, her father said, "I don't care what it is - it's going to be 'Jack,' and it's the last one." She was named Jacqueline Last.

I don't think I could call myself "Goddess" or "Priestess" without giggling hysterically every time I looked in the mirror, or had to sign something.


Of your list, I like "Jamie" and "Sarah" (with an "h,") and Rachel is not supposed to be spelled like that-- you've been watching too many illiterate television chef shows.

Robin is the skankblossom next-door whore about whom I have written extensively, probably before you began reading here. She makes me wish those little harbinger of spring birdies would change their name.

Flip used to get haircuts from a Native American gay guy named Johnson. I'm sure that was not his real name.


I like Diana, but not Diane. (What a difference an "a" makes.) The Goddess of the Hunt, not necessarily the hapless bulemic princess.

I missed one of your posts? I must have been malingering on another planet.

And I'm probably more than slightly temperamental, although I'm flattered by your list of attributes.


I totally agree. You are not a Judy. That's right up there with Lassie and Fluffy.

Judith has elegance, dignity, beauty and is a name for the ages, and not just pre-school.


You are so generous. I believe Chanakam is taken and the others, while lovely, do not feel as if they could ever belong to me.

When I was about 9, I saw a photo of a Tahitian girl in National Geo whose name was Maeva Flohr and used her first name for awhile, having already discovered that nobody would call me Pocahontas.

meno said...

This will amuse you, i think.

When i was a child i hated my name, which is very slightly different than the usual, and i insisted my mother call me Susan.

I am not making this up.

Later i decided my name should have been Adrienne Montgomery.

Echomouse said...

Parts of this post made me laugh at loud!

I don't know if I should offer name suggestions. I named my cats after a car and chipmunks after all. Best to listen to someone else on that score :) I do like the name Susan though.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


How ambitious of you! I never got beyond the longing for a different first name as I didn't especially identify with my last name anyway since it wasn't chosen for me.

The custom of women and children taking the husband's surname is a bit like a slave name, anyway. I don't believe that women should lose their identity when they marry.


I once named a cat Anathema. I should have called her Blackie or Gigi because she was the worst cat of all time.

Maria said...

I am still stuck on someone MOTHER actually biting your finger...

Perhaps the next time I see that boy in Liv's class that she dislikes, I should chase him down on the playground, sit on him and threaten to rub a booger on him. He did it to Liv when they were in kindergarten and it has always sort of pissed me off....

Bob said...

seems to me that YOU'RE the only person who could name you - you know yourself, the journey from birth to here, who you want to be.

look into yourself and find your name.

Josie said...

He said: "Now you just fought one hell of a fight
And I know you hate me, and you got the right
To kill me now, and I wouldn't blame you if you do.
But ya ought to thank me, before I die,
For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye
Cause I'm the son-of-a-bitch that named you "Sue.'"

I got all choked up and I threw down my gun
And I called him my pa, and he called me his son,
And I came away with a different point of view.
And I think about him, now and then,
Every time I try and every time I win,
And if I ever have a son, I think I'm gonna name him
Bill or George! Anything but Sue! I still hate that name!"
...Johnny Cash

heartinsanfrancisco said...


You would have more justification than Lynda's mother because I hadn't bitten Lynda, who was almost twice my size.


You are right, of course. Still, suggestions would be nice. I didn't promise to implement them, or offer prizes or anything.


I've thought of that song, too, but I don't think my parents were Johnny Cash fans. I don't much care for being called Sue, either, but I've never killed anyone for doing so.

Los Angelista said...

If only all the penis growth emails had been around back then, who knows, you might have been able to grow one. Or at least that's what they promise! And what the heck with homegirls mom biting you? Psycho!

When I was 12 my mother decided that she was going to call me Liz instead of Elizabeth. I didn't like "Liz" at all. I wanted to be called Liza growing up but my mom hated Liza Minelli. My second choice was Lizzie but then my siblings started calling me Lizzie Borden.

Anyway, a name for you? I like Grace because you've got lots of it!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I considered Elizabeth for both my daughters but didn't love any of its many nicknames as much as the name.

Grace is beautiful. Thank you for suggesting it, but it could never be mine because Grace Slick was my friend long ago and I messed it up.

(There is a post about this somewhere in my archives.)

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Funny post. You were supposed to be a boy and I was supposed to have been a girl. My parents often called me the "mistake". Howza that for a name?

Okay. I like Susan but if ya wanna something more exotic;
1. Rowena ( a magical name linked to the Rowan Tree and Celtic Druidism)
2. Some Malaysian names; Yasmin, Saloma, Sarojini,
3. My favorite name "Amber" after the semi-precious stone called liquid gold.

Anonymous said...

As others opined, I liked this post (tho it has kept me up beyond my bedtime).

Since you're a tomboy, Susan doesn't seem a proper fit, for sure. I was a tomboy too, and since I was Katherine--only used by my mother when she was pissed--I could use Kate. I always thought it an OK handle. But my last name was always used in derogatory slurs, so I got married early and fixed that!

I have a Susan-sister I call Soz; my brother called her HizzPizz. Go figure.

Nick said...

I agree, you seem a lot more than a Susan. Susanna sounds better - it suggests subtlety and thoughtfulness. I was called Nicky for most of my childhood, and only changed to Nick after masculine peer pressure! But I think the name Nicky actually changed my personality and made me very pro-women. Do you remember the feminist fashion for new male-free names back in the 60s and 70s? Like Bell Hooks?

Anonymous said...

What a treat to read you, to be able to roll around with your thoughts, your words, Dorothy.

I was "cute" for far too long, into high school but never made the transition to beautiful or ugly, so as I have gotten older, "cute" isn't so bad. There can be worse things said, I guess.

I have no name suggestions beyond your own. Now, now you can be the Dorothy of your childhood fancy. You can stay up in the tree for as long as you want, until eveyone in the world calls you Dorothy. After all, you already have the shoes. Funny (or not) that your current blog identity contains elements from both Dorothy and Crazy Heart.

furiousBall said...

My name is Van and I hated it as a kid, but now I really like having an odd name with a story behind it.

WNG said...

I'll have to get back to you on the names, but had to tell you about mine.
I was going to have this name whether I was a boy or girl:
Graeme Whitfield Seabrook
Only if I was a boy it would have been Graham.
All old family names and seeminly not fair when my sisters are Linda, Juilet and Kelly and my brother is Theo.
At some point I just had to get over it and absorb my name into myself, realizing that it was a tribute to my family.
BTW- none of the Susan's I have known have been 'cute' but they have all had big hearts and open minds.

Christy said...

It may have taken a full 45 seconds to reach the bottom of your post so as to comment...

And wow. I know a Susan just like that, but have never read such a description in a name book. Very cool that it wasn't some cliche.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I once knew a Rowena Goldberg, believe it or not. I like Yasmin, also the flower. Amber is lovely, too, but in the US, it sounds like a pole dancer.


Hizz-pizz. Now there's a name. I'm not sure that I'm still a tomboy. Somebody who knew me well once called me "an elegant scamp."

Susan is ok, it just seems kind of non-committal.

Thank you for coming by even though it was past your bedtime.


Names do go in fads. You can often tell someone's generation, sight unseen, by their name. There is a whole population of Jennifers and Jessicas in the U.S., Scott, Jason and Jared for boys.

Nicholas is one of my favorite boy's names, btw.


I am sure you're very cute.

I no longer like the name Dorothy, actually, only her shoes. I don't much like Patricia either. You can't go home again.


Is it just Van, not short for something? And isn't your son named Van, too?

I think boys cringe at unusual names while girls crave them.


All your names are beautiful.

Sigourney Weaver's real name was Susan. She changed it. She is not cute, if "cute" connotes little.

It's bad enough being smaller than most people without a cookie-baking name, too. Even though I do bake cookies on occasion, I don't want to be defined by it.


Wow. That must be some kind of record for speed reading one of my posts.

I have also known Susans who were big, plain, and ATE lots of cookies.

Odat said...

I have no suggestions...thinking there's absolutely nothing wrong with Susan.
You should have tracked the wicked witch down and poured water on her!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I like your real name too. It's lovely - like you.

I wish I'd had the presence of mind to melt her, but I was completely shocked. I never went to Lynda's house again but I heard that she got pregnant at 15. THAT wasn't blamed on me.

Open Grove Claudia said...

Names... boy I've always struggled with mine as well.

How about Jasmine? That's a pretty good name for a beautiful delicate flower such as yourself! ;)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Jasmine. Hmmm, Squirrel suggested Yasmin, same name, same beautiful flower which is one of my favorites.

I think Claudia is pretty, but you have to wonder if they really wanted a "Claude."

Anonymous said...

Okay - My given name is Jill Ellen Lambe. Little Jill in the ghetto - amusing to some.

One of my former mates who was sorta-kinda practicing Islam named me Jalilah and started calling me jali (I'm a lower case kind of girl) and I loved it so much that it's my name now - except to the IRS and insurance type orgs.

I have a glamorous friend named Susan, so it's alway been a glamorous name to me.

Judith said...

When I had my first daughter, thinking it was the only child I would have used all the names that I had in mind hence her name is Luci Scarlet Eve Kali, my second daughter came as a surprise and having used up all the names a year ago was fresh out of ideas when she came along so for 3 days she didnt have a name so we came up with Eibhe Which is pronounced Eva the rest of her name is Eirin Tempest Lillith, we here are such white trash when it comes to naming our kids.. Anyway Im rambling here How about Ashling? It means wise dream in irish?

heartinsanfrancisco said...


You have a lovely name. I've always loved Jill, and my older daughter is named Ellen Joy.

Thank you for explaining where Jali cames from. I wondered if it was short for something.


Are you sure you didn't miss any names? Which ones do your daughters go by?

Ashling is lovely, both the sound and the meaning. I've always liked it, although I don't care for Ashley or Ashleigh which are overused in the American South.

meggie said...

My mother gave me her favourite Irish name. I never did like it, & was glad when I got older, to have a nickname which everyone but my mother & an Aunt used. Most of my family use another family nickname so I don't get it at all, very often.
My second name is just hideous. It was a the name of a loved friend of my mother's.
Men seem more accepting of their names, generally, than women do, have you noticed?

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Is your name Meghan? I love Irish names, especially Siobhan and Caitlin.

I think you're quite right about men being more accepting of their names.

You say your middle name is hideous... worse than Roberta? I am mired in disbelief here.

MsLittlePea said...

I was supposed to be a boy too. They were hoping to name me David...

I like the name Suzan Roberta. It sounds very CEO in a miniskirt suit to me. You can have my name, Angel. With a name like that, you're destined to be thought of and treated like child for the rest of your life. Being small too doesn't help either.

I too tried to change it a few times when I was little. I liked Tiffany, but my mom hated it. I then begged to change it to Pistachio but my mom again refused on the grounds that she pushed me out so she could call me anything she wanted to and Pistachio was definitely not an option. You can have Pistachio if you want(wink)

The CEO said...

Well Susan, I like Hearts for you, because I heart you.

The CEO said...

I guess I should explain, when I look into your eyes, there are two of you. Hence, Hearts. Thankyouverymuch.

The CEO said...

That would be two eyes, naturally.


heartinsanfrancisco said...


Two of me... You think I'm fat?

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Or a multiple personality?

Molly said...

As I was reading this, an episode of Black Adder was droning in the background---the one about the "Boy without a Winkle!"

Susan always sounded exotic to me, Suz
anne even more so [so French!] I really wanted to be called Aislinn, like my cousin. Why did I have to have the unimaginative parents? And then in H.S. I wanted to BE Hayley Mills, name, accent,hair,looks, the lot.
And now, finally, I'm content with my own, plain name, though I think I will be sad when my M-I-L dies because then there'll be no one left to call me Marushka!
Your mother was mean, telling you that about girl babies!
I think we grow into our names, become them, or them us, wouldn't you agree? So "Susan" is an incognito tall person travelling in an elegant scamp's shiny redshoes, wowing the blog world with her witty insights and amazing writing skills!

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

This is a wonderfully hilarious memoir! Love it.

I had two boys. However, had I fathered a girl, I planned to name her Coleen, which I understand is Gaelic for “young female.” After all, we had a parakeet named “Bird” and a cat named “Kat” and a fish named “Phish.” So why not a daughter named “Female”?

Jocelyn said...

So Thomasina Georgina is out, then? Shucks.

I could, you know, read twelve pages of a post from you quite happily. I always want more.

I feel you as Ava.

If I'd had another daughter, she would have been Esme. That's also a good one.

And don't I eagerly await knowing what you choose?

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Sweet Pea,

I had a Samoyed named Angel. She was a pretty big dog who loved to roll in horse shit. Since I had horses, this happened all the time.

I cannot tell you how touched I am that you would give me "Pistachio," but I draw the line at Tiffany as I have never understood why so many people name their babies after a jewelry store. (Well, I guess I do understand, sadly.)

I'm just surprised they don't spell it "Tifney" like "Britney." It's the same mentality. And these are presumably adults, not 3rd graders.

Your mom was right.


What happened to his winkie?

Marushka is Mary in Russian? Polish?

I once had two puppies named Buck and Molly. They ate through walls.

I'm glad you like my shoes. Now THAT's important.

St. Nick,

Why not, indeed? At leasts there would never be any doubt. And Coleen is a pretty name. If you were Australian, you could call her Sheila, and in some parts of America, Bimbo.

Were your sons both named "Male?"


Thomasina Georgina? Um, no.

Not Ava either. Haven't you noticed that every girl child born in the last 3 years is named Ava? It would really confuse people if a person my age were to take that name.

Esme. I do enjoy love and squalor. It might work.

Sienna said...

Laughed so much at this!

I love "Follow a Dream" and "Crazy Heart"...I think they are great names.

I am Pamela Joy...Pam being all honey, I used to live in trees! Loved climbing trees and sitting up in them and watching and dreaming the world go by..

I think if I could rename myself I would go with Skyblue, but it sorta sounds like an airline no? or aeroplane sex pornography.. maybe Pam will be okay...Sienna I put for the blog referring to the red colored soils around here and where I was born, not realising that would be my monnika...There's a nice name: "Monnika" Kinnomak, Gretel? Bezeel? How about earwig?

Nope, I love your Native names, they are the best!!!


Molly said...

A boy without a winkle is a girl, silly. It's that weird, Brit humour!

blooming desertpea said...

Talk about parents and their dreams! And who needs to pay for that? The kids, of course!

I'm thinking of my daughter right now, whom I named Nina which is a common name here because I did want to spare her the trauma I went through having an exotic name which everyone I meet needs to twice a go to pronounce it right. To make a long story short, my daughter would rather have gone with my more exotic choice for her which would have been Oriana - she thinks Nina is too bland - go figure!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Pamela Joy is a pretty name, but Skyblue, which is my favorite color, sounds like a 60's hippie Mile High Club aficionado.

Earwig??!!! Maybe Susan isn't so bad after all.


It crossed my mind but not being British, I gave it short shrift.

Desert Pea,

Nina is one of my favorite names. Oriana is pretty, too.

I had a friend who wanted to name her daughter Sierra Dawn but her husband prevailed and they named the child Lisa. When Lisa grew up, she changed it to guess what? Sierra Dawn.

jameil1922 said...

you are incredibly hilarious to me. i love it. i never liked my name-- too much like a boy's name and i can't tell you how i never met or even heard of a female jameil (pronounced juh-mell) until well after i started college. i am cracking up at "Susans are little and cute and bake cookies." hilarity. i have to steal my name definitions from those for "jamal" which means handsome. so i just tell people my name means beautiful. why not? i tried going by my middle name when i went to middle school AND my mom even agreed to let me change my name but i couldn't decide on anything. sigh. all that to say my name is just that, mine. may as well keep it. sigh. names.

jameil1922 said...

ooh i was just thinking this morning i love the name cate! but with a c!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


It's true. I have only known people of the male persuasion named Jameil, so when you first commented here my first impression was that you were a guy.

In your case, I'm sure it does mean beautiful.

My younger daughter is named Catherine Rose and she goes by Cate.

Rebecca said...

Good grief, what baby book were you looking at? And what, pray, do they say of my own moniker? It took nearly half my life, but I like my name, and thank all that is holy that my father won the naming battle. I think it interesting and brave that you have tried nearly all your life to be called what you wanted to be called.

And rock on, tomgirl! The world has enough really annoying girly girls.

That fathers would not see the strength in their wives and daughters is incomprehensible to me. I confess to having wanted a boy when I was carrying my son, but that was because I was afraid of having a daughter like me...strong, independent, rebellious, curious, intelligent and defiant, not bad qualities in and of themselves, but jeez the things I got myself into. It's a wonder I made it!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I'd look your name up for you if I still had the book. It was called, "What NOT To Name Your Baby."


I have two incredibly strong, intelligent and brave daughters and an amazing son, too. I've been greatly blessed.

My mother always said,"I hope someday you have one just like you." My unwillingness to conform to the popular ideal of sugar & spice & everything nice exasperated her.

Franki said...

My first name is Rhonda. Rhonda was a nice neighbor, and the only American woman my mom knew. I too was supposed to be a boy, named after my father. I am grateful my name isn't Geraldine. I started using my middle name when I was around 28. It's my mom's maiden name and I felt mush more connected to it. Boy, did I hate the Beach Boys.

I immediately thought of Grace for you too. Not everyone can say they messed up a friendship with Grace Slick...wild woman.

When I was prego for the 2nd time, I considered a few family names...Genevieve, Cecilia, and Marjory. Still love them, altho they are rather old fashioned.

Los Angelista said...

Wowzer! You really have known everybody cool in the world, haven't you? I'm gonna have to hunt through your archives for this Grace Slick story.

Rachel said...

I once bit a boy on the top of his head in retaliation for him having bit me. His parents punished me for my action (they spanked me soundly), and this sparked a long-standing feud between our families that ended only when we moved away.

As for a name...well, I have a fondness for ancient Irish names, such as Siobhan and Roisin.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I never imagined you as a Rhonda, maybe because I first knew you by the other one.

Thank you for the immense compliment of thinking of me as Grace. It's a perfect girl's name and I'm sorry I ruined it.


It was pretty early in the blog but I don't remember when. She was great!


I can't believe parents other than your own spanked you. I didn't spank my children and if anyone else had done so, there would have been a homicide.

I love Siobhan. I would have to dye my hair auburn, though, to deserve it.

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

Names are sooo important.

My birth name was Linda Anne. BLEH! Besides, the hospital spelled it wrong on the birth certificate. When I got married I changed my middle name to my maiden name and took my husband's last name.
When I got divorced, I took back my maiden name and changed my middle name.

When I was sixteen, a kahuna (Hawaiian priestess) gave me the name Kapuananiokalaniakea - beautiful blossom of the wide heavens. She "received" my name from the spirit world. LOVED that name, but it was kind of just an extra name, one that no one used.
In college, I decided to start using it, and asked people to call me Puanani, which got shortened to Pua. Some people were not "comfortable" with my new name so they continued to call me Linda. When I met my husband-to-be, he chose Linda over Pua -- that should have been my first clue that things would not work out, but being the slow learner that I am, it took me 23 years to clue in.
When I got divorced, I changed back to my maiden name and legally changed my middle name so I am now Linda Kapuananiokalaniakea.
Those that I love now have a legal basis for calling me Puanani.
I LOVE IT! It reflects my heritage and my spirit. I feel closer to the Divine and I am blossoming into my new life and growing into my new name. I can be bigger and bolder with my new name. I can be exotic and unique and a bit strange with my new name. I can be wise and spiritual and peaceful with my new name. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities. It's a lot to live up to and there are those in my past life that laugh at me and call me crazy for doing it. And maybe I am but then, aren't we all -- at least now I am crazy on my own terms!

Good luck with choosing your new name and...I hope you share it when you do.

urban-urchin said...

what a bitch! bite a child?! crazy bitch should be her new name.

Don't ask me- I tried (unsuccessfully I might add) for years to get my parents to call me Stephanie (as it's a helluva a lot easier to pronounce than my name).

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

PS I was supposed to be a boy, too. Spent my whole life trying to prove to my parents that I was okay anyway -- even if I was a girl. I'm not sure I succeeded, but I have finally stopped trying (trying to prove it, not stopped being a girl!)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Hawaiian names are so beautiful, like the islands and the people themselves.

I think it suits you better than Linda ever could. You are the one who has to be comfortable with your name and there couldn't be a truer name than the one chosen just for you by someone who is hooked up to the source.


I don't think your name is hard to pronounce, unless of course, I'm doing it wrong.

I have never known a Stephanie I liked. Ever. So you are NOT a Stephanie.


I have no plans to stop being a girl either.

I am not Star Jones said...

can you send this to all people considering raising children?

it is heartfelt
and beautiful and
actually insightful about growing up.

Fate's Granddaughter said...

I have not been reading your blog for long, so I wouldn't presume to be in a position to offer a name...

I have a rather exotic, biblical name which I hated most of my life and now revere as being quite special. As a result I now love old Hebrew names. They might be an interesting starting point.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I have thought for years that there should be an exam to qualify people as parents. Of course, most of us wouldn't be here if there were.


I like Biblical names, at least some of them. They have dignity and one can grow old with them, unlike most of the popular trendy names.

I think this is your first comment here. It's nice to meet you. Thanks for coming by.

seventh sister said...

Love the buckskin. Looks a lot like the one I used to have back in the day.

eastcoastdweller said...

Susan: Lily, in Persian.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


You lucky girl!


I know that's the translation of Susan. I like Lily.

Ian Lidster said...

I once had a Ford Gelding, it was called officially a Maverick. Hardly applied.
Personally, and no offence meant to the Dorothies of the world, but I happen to like 'Susan'. I think it's a fine name. I hated 'Ian' when I was a young kid because I didn't know any other kids with the same name. I wanted to be called something like Tommy or Bobby. The only person who hated his name more than I hated mine was my uncle Basil. Consequently he, to his mother's distress, chose to always use his second name, John.
Anyway, I was going to say that Susan is 'cute', but I immediately dispelled that idea.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I like your name. It's one of the many variations of John, but more interesting.

I had a great uncle Basil, too, but never knew him. It's a very nice herb, though.

You think Susan is cute? I think you're just angling for cookies.

Angela said...

What a great post! I smiled so much to think of you sitting in that Magnolia tree. My daughter sometimes tells me she doesn't like her name and I always ask what she'd prefer instead. I think I called her something different for an hour or two but then the allure must have worn off. I didn't like my name as a kid either, but it's grown on me. Rhiannon comes to mind. ;) xoxoxoxo

And oh, yeah, having scrolled down through the comments, goddess names for you all the way!!! Strong ones.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Your name is pretty. My parents probably thought of me as Devila, though.

Your daughter is trying on new identities which will become part of her. I would call her whatever she likes, even Rhiannon if she likes horses or Stevie Nicks.