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I loved this part. It made me think so much about the conversations that shaped my life just before and after I arrived.
Here’s what I know:
- I am Rachel Lea after my late great-grandmothers Regina and Lillian.
- I was almost Rebecca Lily.
- If I were a boy I would have been Randy.
- My father wanted boy-me to be Rhys, but my mother really did not.
Do you know whom you’re named after or what else your name might have been?
-My full name is Simini-Laurén, or Simini Laurén, as there is some dispute as to the dash. On one document it was included and other not? I’m not sure.
-My mom had been saving the name Simini since she was 8, when she lived in a very small town and there was a woman named Simini Udall and she like the name. I’m not named after her or anything, she just liked it. Later found out Simini Udall had been an art teacher, so that’s fitting I suppose.
-Laurén is pronounced like LaRen, and was inspired by the actress Sophia Loren, because it was 1986. (again, not named after her per se, she just liked it).
-My mom wanted to name my Simini-Laurén Brachelle (or Michelle?) Blocker, but my dad said no way. This is also why there’s argument about the hyphentation.
-Not sure what I would have been named had I been a boy, probably Landen like my younger brother. When I was born and they told her she’d had a girl, my mom was so excited she jumped off the table yelling “A girl! a girl!!” Or so the story goes…
When she was 7 months pregnant, my mom had a dream where a baby boy unzipped her stomach*, popped his head out, said “Hello, my name is Russell, what’s your name?” And after that my mom was convinced that I was going to be a boy and I was going to be named Russell, so they never picked out a girl’s name.
Smash cut to the hospital and the big surprise that I was, and am, a girl. They knew my middle name would be Yates, my paternal grandmother’s maiden name, and so when they read in a People magazine left at the hospital that mediocre 80’s pop star and actress Pia Zadora had just delivered a baby girl and named her K-A-D-Y**, they decided that the two names sounded nice together and that was good enough.
*My mom is a nurse midwife, you’d think even in her dreams she would know that this is not how birthing babies works.
** Kady Zadora followed in her mother’s footsteps and is also a singer. I last saw her as a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
I’m so glad this came up because I wanted to jump in here with this too. Because first of all, my mom did that changing the birth certificate at the last moment thing too. Added the LE in case I was a doctor, or a lawyer. I’m not, that LE never gets used. It’s much more formal and serious than I ever turned out to be. The Velvet Underground reference is much more where I live.
If I was going to be a boy, I would have been Jesse Clayton— purely so my mom could stand on the porch and yell “Jesse Clayton, you get in here out of the mud.” My mom is from Queens.
I’m loving this whole conversation, inspired by Brown Girl Dreaming and the reblogbookclub, about our parents deciding what to name us.
oh oh! my mother wanted to name me Zephyr (CAN YOU IMAGINE. true story, when i was in 8th grade i made my friends call me Zephyr for a few months. they actually mostly did) and my dad wanted to name me Rebecca. Zephyr got dropped because my parents were not actually hippies, and Rebecca got dropped because “Becky Bakelaar” would have been horrific.
i am Jennifer for my great-great aunt on my father’s side, and share my mom’s middle name (albeit with an alternate spelling).
extra-interestingly, Zephyr means “gentle breeze”. my aunt named her first daughter (who is 12 years younger than me) Kalai, which is basically the same thing but in Hawaiian. i don’t think she knew the Zephyr story.