What name would change your life?
It seems like a pretty fair bet that I would have a more glamourous life than I do now, one that involved, I don’t know, lots of evenings (Vesper means “evening’!) at nightclubs and zooming around European locales on Vespa motor scooters.
Or is that just an illusion? Would I still be myself, whether my name was the straightforward Pam or the glamourous Vesper, the peppy Pippa or the sophisticated Sophia, would I still be the same person?
Do you think a name can have the power to change your life, and if so, what name do you think could change YOURS? And how and why?
(Sorry, but Vesper is mine.)
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on September 3rd, 2013 at 9:59 pm
My boyfriend calls me Penelope about 75% of the time. It’s something he came up with all on his own about 6 months into our relationship. He says it’s spunky and weird, like me =P. My actual name is very straight forward and classic. I love it. I have always thought my nickname, Kate, suited me SO well…but maybe it doesn’t, maybe Penelope is more suitable for my personality. Because of everything I just explained, I don’t think a name has the power to change a life. To me, Kate and Penelope are entirely different names. I’ve always been a Kate, but the one person who knows me best, thinks Penelope fits me so much more.
on September 3rd, 2013 at 10:10 pm
I think it goes either way.
Of course, a name doesn’t completely decide what your life is like. It’s the reason why your parents chose your name and their personality and lifestyle behind it that. The culture and place where you live affects you. For example, Cosima is a popular European name. If you are named Cosima, it is pretty likely that you have European parents, are European, and have the lifestyle as described above in the post. Your life has already been partially predetermined.
Then there’s the attention and reaction that your name gets. A name like Vesper would certainly pop out among job applications. It might make whoever is reading pay more attention to you, become more curious about this Vesper person. Vesper might have a better chance at getting the job. Another issue, bullying. Maybe a name like Kitty might get you bullied and change the way you grow up. Bullying can make you meeker, less confident, and in the long run, change your whole life. But name-calling has almost died out with the turn of the millennium so I wouldn’t worry too much.
See, it’s not really the name that changes your life, but the circumstances and conditions under how and why you were given this name. And from then, the name changes you. Do you get what I’m saying?
I wonder how life would be like if my name is Wren. My family is more of the conservative type, and would never have chosen Wren. I have no idea how it would change my life, just that it’d be different.
on September 3rd, 2013 at 10:23 pm
This is really interesting to me. I am an Emily in a world steeped with Emilys, and I wish I had been Emmeline instead. I’ve always thought that it was similar enough that I would be essentially the same person but with a tad more, I don’t know, personality? A name is the first thing people know about you, sometimes before they’ve even met you, and it always seemed to me that mine left nothing to be remembered. My younger sister, on the other hand, has a name that I have never personally seen on another girl and never has a problem with acquaintances recalling it. She loves how quirky it is…I wanted quirk.
My mother actually told me about six months ago that she thinks I should change it, but at this point, with a family and career and life built in this name, it isn’t likely to happen. Now I just wish I had started going by Milly when I went away to college.
on September 3rd, 2013 at 10:58 pm
I often wonder if I had been another Renae or Sarah, like so many of my classmates, if I would be the same weirdo with strong sense of identity? I have always felt like my name has defined who I am and I felt the need to live up to that.
That being said, over the last few years I have been going by my nickname and have even shortened my last name because at this point in my life I feel like Lina Dee is more representative of who I am.
Im not sure if its true but I DO feel like a name change would change me and my life!
on September 4th, 2013 at 1:18 am
I think if I was a Betsey I would be more daring and courageous. No idea why. And if I was an Isla, I would be more introverted. That’s just what comes to mind, I dunno.
on September 4th, 2013 at 6:43 am
This is slightly off-topic, but people react much differently to me with my married name rather than my maiden name. My married name is “ethnic”, and I get a lot of questions about it and I have had a few people look shocked when a blond, white woman shows up with my last name. So, I definitely believe the same may hold true for a first name: people are going to react differently to a Madison versus a Poppy versus a Teniqua versus a Fatema versus a Moonbeam.
on September 4th, 2013 at 6:47 am
My mom wanted to name me Wendy Susan and I always thought it was so pretty. It seems more light weight and care free. Although I really like my name, Julie, I have thought about being a Wendy. She also liked Amber, which would have been pretty daring in the 60’s. I wonder if life would have been different as Amber?
on September 4th, 2013 at 7:34 am
i dont think names can automatically elevate our status. havent you ever met someone that seems to have ‘too pretty’ or ‘too trendy’ of a name that they dont seem to fit due to appearance or personality? i met an Angelique the other day & nothing about her was very angelic…
also i dont think people really admit to themselves the reasons they want to change their names. it not about finding something thats really ‘them’ its them wants to change who they are for whatever reason. which isnt about a name, its up to us to be who we are & who we want to be. the Angelique i met could easily change her outward personality to have been more amiable during my short time working with her and be more ‘Angelique-like’ but she chose not to.
on September 4th, 2013 at 7:34 am
I’ve always felt that my name Alexandra influenced me. I’ve always been aware of the meaning and felt it was sort of my duty to live up to it. It’s the same with my middle names. Though maybe my mother just choose names that perfectly fit my temperament. (The first is more likely though).
on September 4th, 2013 at 8:26 am
I defiantly feel like my name influence me too. I can’t imagine being called anything else more to the point I wouldn’t want to be called anything else. My name is Jolene and its fairly unusual but not unheard of and it has a beautiful song to go with it.
Jolene fits me perfectly and my nn’s are JoJo and Joey, I love them both.
Even as I try to think hypothetically of something else for me, I just can’t.
on September 4th, 2013 at 11:56 am
I think your name does kinda determine who you are, I mean stereotypically if your Valentina let’s say your most likely going to be of European descent or European and follow that culture. Similarly if your given a ‘strange’ name or name that causes name-teasing your child could determined by that as s/he could be made meeker, less confident or in contrast more defiant and feistier. Furthermore if your given a rather grand upper-crust name you could be stereotyped as posh and be seen differently.
But despite this I think you are you and your name isn’t your personality.
on September 4th, 2013 at 12:03 pm
I don’t think my name, Holly, influenced much other than the Christmas songs the kids at school (mostly boys flirting with me in elementary school) used to sing to me. I never cared for it much, honestly. My children have unconventional names though. I hope maybe their names will help shape them to think outside of the box and to be their own people, not to be sheep. Perhaps, it might even help out with job interviews when their older like the blogger mentioned.
on September 4th, 2013 at 1:02 pm
If I had a top 20 name from 1985, I probably wouldn’t be as nervous or annoyed when I have to spell my name, when people can’t pronounce my name, or have never heard of my name. I, personally, like my name, my family loves my name, but introducing myself to others is a pain. I’m not a big fan of the nicknames for my name, as they seem country or kiddish, and I want to be seen as serious, mature, normal. I feel like people with normal names have no clue about this when they give their kids something really unusual. But then again, I never had the problem of being the fourth Jennifer in my class, so I have no idea what that is like.
Anyhow, having the name Elizabeth or Kimberly would have made things less awkward when meeting strangers. I could have focused on getting to know them instead of worrying “Is this person going to get it right? Do I correct them? Is that rude?”
on September 4th, 2013 at 1:40 pm
What yw2 said except– I don’t like my name. And I cringe when I see an Elizabeth naming her daughter Journey or Melusine. If you have a “normal’ name, you can’t fathom the pain it is to have one that stands out ( at least in my generation– and it actually still stands out today!) Names can guide who someone is in that the outside world judges you ( fairly or unfairly) on what information they have about you. Sometimes it’s just your name.
on September 4th, 2013 at 2:03 pm
my name is Jessika. and while i was definitely not the only one growing up in school, i was the only one spelled with a K. i think i handled it a lot better knowing i did stand out a little because my name was different just enough. my husbands name was popular as well (David). we picked a name out if the top 500 for our daughter (due in roughly 5 weeks) just so she wont need to worry about being the eighth jessika or fifth.david in.her class. 🙂
on September 4th, 2013 at 4:41 pm
I did change my name in college. I had always gone by my middle name Elise…which I had received many compliments on while growing up. I still like my middle name and sometimes wish I had kept it because it was unusual at the time and there aren’t too many 30-something Elise’s. But I felt in college I was taking a very different path from what my parents had expected and was “coming into my own” so to speak, so I went for the bolder Jacqui (my first name). For better or worse, I am a Jacqui now. I obviously kept this in mind while I was naming my kids…I had to equally like their middle names as much as their given names -just in case they choose to go by another name later in life! No “filler” middle names allowed!
on September 4th, 2013 at 4:54 pm
When I really started getting into names when I was about 11, I got tremendously annoyed with my own name. Kaylah. It’s a very trendy name with a unique spelling. So I turned to names I thought would fit me better: Charlotte, Stella, Alexandra, Cora, Katherine….. If I had to pick I think I’m a Stella.
on September 4th, 2013 at 6:40 pm
I go by Emily on-line. It’s similar to my real name and yet it’s different. I think I come off more moderate and modest.
I have never wanted to change my name, except I picture other names as nom-de-plumes as I hope one day to be a famous author. Hmmm… guess those names sound like “author” names to me.
on September 4th, 2013 at 8:14 pm
Wow…..I always wanted something super feminine. Dreams of being named Francine sometimes totally overcame my daydreams in gradeschool and in high school. Lol…living in Paris and married to the wealthy Pierre…….Francine was the sexiest super model, fabulous fashion designer, french actress, romance novelist or as a kid I was Princess Francine locked in the tower and saved by the handsome Prince!
on September 5th, 2013 at 6:04 am
I have the classic name Catherine, I love it but it can feel a bit too straight laced and boring sometimes, it’s amazing how different spellings and endings can make you feel like a whole new person. Cate is instantly cool whereas Kate is sweet, the girl next door. Katherine is 1930’s glam, Katerina mysterious. Katie is fun, happy go lucky.
If only we could change our names and rotate them every year, I’d be a delicious sounding Plum or Clementine then the sweet adventurous Alice, the exciting, quirky Beatrix, the mysterious Iris, the elegant Lucia, fun Phoebe and the beyond cool Juno.
on September 5th, 2013 at 7:29 am
It was on my mum’s list, but I got Suzanne. Pretty unimpressed with her choice.
on September 5th, 2013 at 6:44 pm
While I don’t think names in of themselves can determine your destiny, I do think they can have an impact on your life, because as a bunch of other posters said, they influence other people’s first impressions of you (right or wrong).
So yes, I wish I had a name that gave off a different impression.Mine is Dawn, which as a word on paper is okay & the meaning is great – but it has a nasally sound I don’t like, I always have to spell it (people write Don every time) and it screams 1970’s. I think if I had to choose, I think Id keep my initials but pick the name Daisy. It is gentle, happy, sweet, and makes me think of an English meadow. 🙂
on September 6th, 2013 at 9:52 pm
Hello everyone, this is my first time commenting on anything in Nameberry but I felt compelled to this time because my name has absolutely changed my life. I was born Julia Rose (nicknamed Rosie) but when I was 15 I legally changed my name to Rosie. I remember making the decision to be the cheerful and comfortable Rosie rather than the more sophisticated and successful Julia because that was the person I wanted to be. I chose my name not because my given name didn’t suit me or because I didn’t like it but because it didn’t express the part of me that I thought was most important. Changing my name helped to cement my decision to be cheerful rather than sophisticated and comfortable rather than successful.
on October 2nd, 2013 at 11:21 pm
Hmmm…my name is Katy. I was born in 1984, right at the beginning of the Katie/Katy deluge. My parents thought they were being unusual–and in fact, there aren’t very many in the years just before me. It’s just everyone had the same idea at once…my brother’s name is Hayden, also born in the 80s. It was unusual at the time, but now is lumped into the Aiden trend, even though he is at least ten years older than most of them. He now goes by something else, a name he chose, which does give a very different mental picture (He’s now Zeke.) Changing what he’s called (he’s never legally changed anything) does seem to have had a major impact on his own self-image and his first impression on other people. He always felt Hayden (and no, we don’t all agree with this) was a weaker, unisex name (I went to school with a girl Hayden, which always bothered him), and always wanted something more masculine and tough-sounding that to him seemed a better fit with his linebacker build. Also, he was a “big personality” during high school and college, and Zeke better introduced his quirkiness and wild side. So, a name change has been a big part of his life–although it’s a bit of a confusion sometimes because everyone who knew him growing up still thinks of him and calls him Hayden, and everyone who met him as an adult knows him only as Zeke.
On the other hand, I’ve never changed my name at all. Nicknames have never even stuck. I have an unusual middle name, but the only one who ever used it on any regular basis at all was my college roommate–and her only because her name was also Katy and it made it less awkward. There were seven Katie/Katys on my floor in the dorm in college, so we had to do something. I’ve always wanted something a little less common, or at least a little more…formal.
My own taste in names is old-fashioned classics (Irene, Celia, Florence, Pearl, Isaac, Nathaniel, etc.), and so I sometimes wish my parents had named me Katherine at least instead of just Katy; it seems too trendy sometimes, with all the other cute K names. But, they probably did the right thing if they wanted to call me Katy, because if I had the option of Katherine, I’d use it. Sometimes, too, I don’t know if it really expresses me very well–it’s so American, so informal, while I am not the bubbly type, and I’ve lived abroad most of my adult life.
If I were to change my name, I think I would choose Ada Katherine, inspired by my current names; I’ve never really though too much about it though, as I know my parents still love my name, and would be hurt if I changed it, especially as one child already has. And besides, I can’t even get nicknames to stick…
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