About a Blogger Who Remembered How to Laugh

About a Blogger Who Remembered How to Laugh

What’s in a name?

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)

Clearly I have a history of good taste.
Clearly I have a history of good taste.

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!

11 thoughts on “What’s in a name?”

  • I love this! In a roundabout sorta way, I was named after an uncle. My dad practically raised his much younger brother who died in a car accident shortly after my parents married. When they adopted my brother, my dad wanted to name him after his brother, Kent, but my mom didn’t agree with that for some reason so they agreed on Kenneth. When they adopted me, they wanted something that would go with that so I ended up being Kathryn. I think it fits me and I love the way they spelled it with the ‘y’.

  • I have always loved the ‘y’ in your name as well! I also like the name Kent, but Kenneth is kind of different. Does he go by Ken? And what’s the middle names of you and your brother? I feel like I should know your middle name… how do I not?

  • Kathryn Ann … you know, the middle name that everyone picked for years when they couldn’t think of anything else. 😉 My brother’s middle name is Lee (I have no idea why). He’s always gone by Kenny.

  • Ann is super common in our generation. That’s my step-sister and sister’s middle name as well, actually. The Google just told me that Ann is actually a super old name as it was the name of the Virgin Mary’s Mother. And Ann peaked in popularity (as a first name) in the 1930’s. Maybe that’s why it became so popular as a middle name in our generation, everyone was carrying over their Great Grandmother and Grandmother’s first names.

    I seriously love the history of names too much. So much fun to research. Even better when you go to Urban Dictionary. 😉

  • First, I’m sorry to hear that you learned the name of Kimye’s baby finally.

    Second, I’m Paula Anne. I went unnamed for two weeks after I was born because 1) my mom didn’t know if I was going to be a boy or girl and 2) my dad, mom, and two brothers all had to agree on a name.

    My mom wanted something that could not be shortened like my brothers’ names. I was almost “Karen” but mom thought it was too common. She also liked “Carol” but that was my aunt’s name. They considered Theresa to go with the T’s of my brothers (Tim and Tom). Eventually, it was Paula which I used to HATE HATE HATE but now love because I realized that my dad’s middle name was Paul. (One of my brothers got my dad’s first name as a middle name – Robert (Bob)). I don’t know how Anne was decided on, but my mom was adamant it have an E at the end. And I really like my E.

    I never changed my last name either for some of the same reasons as you and some reasons that have to do with laziness.

  • This is Great! I got my name from a hot chick who’s name was Tracy washing her car in a bikini across the street from my parents house. Guess who wanted to named me? My Father, LOL I love my name. It gave me to the most popular nickname that has stuck with me for MANY years like over a Decade, “Spacey”! Which I still like from time to time yet have retired the email SpaceyTracy since it wasn’t a professional email…LOL I went from an easy maiden name of Stone to a Hard name to say, spell, and I constantly have to spell it for EVERYONE. It is P as in Paul, E, M as in Mary, O, U, L, I, E. Then seeing the look on everyone’s faces after I spell it to hear them actually try to say it is normally an epic fail too! lol My middle name is the combination on Le that came from my dads middle name which is Lee and then my moms middle name is Ann so I got LeAnn.

    As for as naming our daughter was easy since I was in LOVE with the name Skyler since High School and Greg loved it too which made me so Happy to follow through with it. Her middle name I did what my parents did kind of. Her middle name is Grace. I switched it up though and split my husbands and my first name to make Skyler’s middle name. “Grace” So I used “Gr” from my husbands name which is Greg and then “ace” from Trace. Once of my other nicknames. Put them together and we got Grace. We are who are names are! I am proud to be named after a hot chick washing her car, lol. It is a story I will never forget.

    Jule is a gorgeous name!! If I have another girl I may consider this for sure. If it is a Boy then he will be a Bryce Gregory P! All in All You are a great Ali and I have only known a few of Ali’s which I love.

  • Lol thanks for apologizing about that Saint-info. I literally found out within 30 minutes of posting on Facebook that I wish I could never find out, but it was revealed via a Jezebel article highlighting the funniest and most mocking tweets of the name. There are worse ways to be inundated with Kimye. (Gotta be the first time I’ve ever typed their name combo)

    Okay for real though on your name – the WHOLE family got to vote?! And you were nameless for two weeks?! That’s awesome!! I love that your first name is a version of your Dad’s middle name too. <3 for real. You are the only Paula I know besides Vince's mom - you two are absolutely nothing alike, but you're both really fun and awesome so maybe that's a trend.

    I thought you were still rockin' the maiden name... good job, dude!

    I will add you to the list of Middle-Name-Ann's I know, but you're alone with the E, as far as I'm aware. Go Your-Mom! (Rarely do I say that with total seriousness...)

    I'm so glad you commented on this one and shared!!

  • Okay Space you officially win the Most Random Name Origin Story Award. I cannot believe that’s how they found Tracy. HAHAHA!!! I love it!!! It’s SO perfect for you!! It’s so YOU. LOL!!!

    Of course you will always be “Space” to me, and I love that your middle name includes Ann – So does Kat’s, Paula’s, my sister Holly, and my step-sister Cari. So far you’re the only one with a hybrid though, which is cool!

    I love Sky’s name too!! I especially love the middle name Grace, and love that it is a combo of you and Greg’s name. Even if Grace becomes popular, it’s a piece of both her parents which is unqiue and I love love love!! And trust me, having a funky last name that starts with a P will make her a stronger person, I speak from experience here…. many, many years of experience. It will be good for her. And she’ll also learn to spell with vowels really early in life. haha!!

    I really like the name Bryce for a boy and that it would have a “y” to match Skyler. If you want to use Jule though, knock yourself out!

    I’m trying to think of a girl version of “Greg” and… I got nothing. Or a guy version of “Tracy”… yeah nothing. So yay totally-new-kid-names! 🙂

  • I have NO idea what I would have been if I were a boy. I don’t even know if my parents found out they were having a girl ahead of time. My mom said that my Dad wanted to name me Felicia and she wanted to name me Alena so Alicia was a compromise. I know my Dad’s taste wasn’t awesome but I just can’t believe he would have named me Felicia,… and sadly I never asked him about it. I’m really glad I wasn’t a boy though. I would have been a really, really gay boy. hah!

  • My name is story is very simple. Elizabeth is always in the top 50 or so and whenever I moved to a new town I was always the 2nd or 3rd Elizabeth in the class. I was named Elizabeth after my grandmother Betty (the one who taught me to sew). Eventually I got tired of being the 2nd or 3rd Elizabeth and decided to go by my middle name Grace which has only one syllable instead of 4 and is easier to say an less common. My middle name comes from my other grandmother. Her middle name was Joy, supposedly because the great war was finally over and my great-grands were so happy.

    BTW, pictures of you as a kid are awesome!

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