There are many things my mom got wrong with me, many that were nothing more than the result of her own troubled childhood, but one thing my Dad and I always thought she got right: my name.
I really love being an Alicia. I also love being an Ali. I love that it’s an A name and its first in the alphabet and I love that it matches me being an Aries, another A that always comes first. I even love the number of letters (an even six) and syllables (exactly half the number of letters). I’ve also seen my name on people of every color and in English, Irish, and Spanish cultures, which I dig. I’m diverse, yo.
I also love my middle name, Celeste. It sounds classic and the number of s sounds used to tickle me as a kid. My middle name came from my Great Grandmother who was Merrell Celeste. Really glad I just got the middle name there.
As for my last name, it’s eight letters and so very Polish. I hated it as a kid when people would sneeze my name out as I walked down the hall. I was annoyed when people called me Piccachu, a game(?) I never got into. But the older I got, the more I grew to love it. I didn’t take Vince’s name when we got married and when last year happened I was super proud to continue carrying my Daddy’s name. I wouldn’t change it for the world. This weird last name made me who I am.
Overall my name shaped me into who I am, or maybe I grew into it. Either way, being the oldest kid, an Aries, and having a strong, feminine name, made me, me. I love it so much that I even wish I could pass parts of it down to little Piccachu’s.
But there’s a catch: There won’t be any little Piccachu’s. There are a host of reasons for why I don’t want kids that range from silly (I don’t want to listen to something whine and then back talk me) to the serious (I don’t want to pass on my maternal family’s long history of mental illness) but mostly I just never craved having my own child.
But if anyone needs a good girl name (okay I think it’s good but no one else might), consider this: Jule Celeste <your last name here>.
Thats right, I’m doing what has broken lifelong friendships between thousands of women: allowing another woman use “my” baby name.
My Grandma was Jule Karen Gerrell and went by Karen her whole life. (Probably because it was the 1940’s and ’50’s and Karen was cool at the time). But her first name was so awesome and unique! Jule, like Jewel. Sure, it’s Jule like Mule too… But whatever. This name is old, and unlike Evelyn, Olivia, Sophia, Emma, and Ava – the top baby girl names in the last few years – not everyfreakingperson is naming their kid Jule.
Jule is originally French and was either a boy or girl name waaaaaay back in the day. It means youthful, soft, downy. It peaked in trends in 1912 at number 837 on the list of most popular baby names so it’s highly unlikely there are very many living Jule’s. (Julia is a thing though)
Celeste is also old and means heavenly being, so if you’re into religion, boom. Otherwise, as someone with this middle name I give it 5 stars, A++++++++, would recommend. (Bonus: super easy to learn to spell)
Anyway, I am fascinated by how people become their names. Whether it’s a long, Polish last name you gotta defend and grow into, or something super popular that you share with two other girls in every class, there is so much in a name that makes us who we are. I hear my Great Grandma that I share a middle name with was an awesome lady and I am honored to carry some of that awesome around with me every day. Same for my Dad and being a Piccachu.
To all the Apple’s, Nutella’s, Atticus’s, and Ezra’s….. Hey, at least you’re not a “Saint.”
This post inspired by this rant and all it’s fantastic comments: http://jezebel.com/2015s-top-baby-names-less-dumb-than-first-reported-1749160984
To those of us born before annual Top Baby Name blog posts were published every year, where did your name come from? How did you grow into it? Love it? Hate it? I just realized I don’t know how some of my closest friends, all with really awesome monikers, got their names, so let me know!