Day 162: What’s in a name?

Yesterday, I wrote about some VITs (Very Important Tigers) in my life.

Last night, I announced, “I’ve decided to watch the movie ‘Life of Pi’.” That movie had been on my To Do List, ever since I had seen some visually stunning excerpts on The Oscars/Academy Awards earlier this year. As I was heading upstairs towards the TV, I laughed/gasped, for a second, as I realized/remembered what I had sort-of-forgotten:

The movie’s co-star is …Image

… an adult Bengal tiger.

Geesh! Does EVERYTHING need to be connected?

The movie might have an opinion about that.

Anyway, I was very affected, touched, and moved by “Life of Pi.”

Although, not to take anything away from that amazing film, I’ve been having those same reactions lately to life in general.

I guess that means “Life of Pi” meets my late mother’s criteria for a good movie. Her highest praise for a movie was, always, “It’s very true to life.” (When I was an adolescent, I had some critical thoughts about my mother’s style of film criticism.) (Today, it seems, I’m following in her movie-critic footsteps, which I like.)

Oh, no! Here we are in the midst of yet another Year of Living Non-Judgmentally post where I’ve yet to make a connection to the Topic Du Jour. Namely, names.

Well, let’s take care of that, right now.

The topic of names has been on my To Do List of blog posts, because:

  • I have a first name that is often misspelled and a last name that is often misspelled AND mispronounced. (And I sometimes have feelings about that.)
  • In the past, I’ve done groups about people’s names, where all the participants had interesting, important stories about their names.
  • Names are a major part of our identity, and they’re also a way that people connect with each other.
  • My childhood friend, Deb, with whom I’ve reconnected, recently told me that her auto correct program changed my last name from “Koplow” to “Kookier,” which I loved.

Choosing today to finally write about names seemed somewhat random to me, until I remembered that the first part of “Life of Pi” is all about Pi’s first name, (including how he got teased at school relentlessly about his full name, Piscine).

Geeesh! Does EVERYTHING have to be connected?

Here’s where I am on the subject of my own name, right now:

  • I like my first name. I especially like the way it’s spelled, without an “e.” People often put an “e” on it, though. Not sure why that’s true. This might be another auto-correct thing and/or people knowing somebody else named “Anne.”
  • I don’t like my last name so much, because it can be a pain to have a name that 96% of the public gets wrong. However, I decided to keep it when I got married because, even though my ex-husband’s name would have been easier, that just didn’t seem like … my name.
  • More about my last name: It was shortened when my father’s family came to the United States. While the correct pronunciation is Cop-lo (like a “depressed policeman,” as my son told his friend, the other day), people sometimes emphasize the second syllable, which makes it sound like a fighting noise in a comic book: KO-PLOW!
  • In the past, I have sometimes had negative reactions when people spell or mispronounce either of my names. The negative reactions are related to this kind of thought: If I were important enough, people would pay attention to my name.
  • Lately, I’m seeing this differently. I’m thinking that everybody has a lot on their minds, that names can be tough to remember, and that I have a particularly difficult name.
  • Being more forgiving of other people’s use of my name is helping me be less anxious about being perfect with other people’s names (although I still try to do well with that).
  • While I have felt weird when people pronounce my last name like a comic book explosion — feeling ridiculous or even “teased” in that moment — lately I’ve been trying a new thought: Hey! Maybe that would be a cool name to have!

I’m in a less judgmental place about my name these days (which I’m enjoying).

However, I reserve the right to look fierce and bare my teeth (see photo, above) if somebody REALLY screws it up.

Thanks for reading (and feel free to tell a story about your name).

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Day 162: What’s in a name?

  1. Debbie Terman

    Sometimes it seems like people go out of their way to find the most creative way to mispronounce a name. When I got married, I did change to my husband’s last name, and although I thought it would be easier for people to pronounce, that was not my primary reason for doing so. However, whereas I heard my former name Cohn mispronounced as Cohen, Chon, Kahn (rhyming with John), my new name Terman is apparently much harder, becoming Tier-man (like a man getting ready to cry), Truman, Thurman, Ter-mon’ (with accent on second syllable), Ter-main’, Tier-main’, and the spelling variations are even worse. To me it seems so simple: it’s like German but with a T. No one ever talks about the “Jeer-main” language! End of my own personal pronunciation rant.

  2. Eleanor

    My last name occasionally gets mispronounced which I find odd, but usually by IT people in far away places helping me fix my computer. (I know I couldn’t pronounce their real names so grateful they use an alias like Sam or Allan)

    But I think it is particularly funny when I’m ordering pizza by phone.
    “You want any toppings on your pizza? ”
    “No thank you.”
    “What’s the name?”
    “Can you spell it?”

  3. Craig

    Leonard Cohen’s song from his zen meditation cabin:

    The light came through the window,
    Straight from the sun above,
    And so inside my little room
    There plunged the rays of Love.

    In streams of light I clearly saw
    The dust you seldom see,
    Out of which the Nameless makes
    A Name for one like me.

    I’ll try to say a little more:
    Love went on and on
    Until it reached an open door –
    Then Love Itself
    Love Itself was gone.

    All busy in the sunlight
    The flecks did float and dance,
    And I was tumbled up with them
    In formless circumstance.

    I’ll try to say a little more:
    Love went on and on
    Until it reached an open door –
    Then Love Itself
    Love Itself was gone.

    Then I came back from where I’d been.
    My room, it looked the same –
    But there was nothing left between
    The Nameless and the Name.

    All busy in the sunlight
    The flecks did float and dance,
    And I was tumbled up with them
    In formless circumstance.

    I’ll try to say a little more:
    Love went on and on
    Until it reached an open door –
    Then Love itself,
    Love Itself was gone.
    Love Itself was gone.

  4. Pingback: Day 369: Old Familiar Faces | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  5. Pingback: Day 570: What’s New? | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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