A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

This famous quote from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is spoken by Juliet.  She argues that it does not matter that Romeo is from a rival house.  She is a Capulet and Romeo is a Montague.

But what is in a name.  When a new life is born into the world, parents deliberate to find the perfect name to which their child will be known.  Often looking into their family history to gift the child with the name of a fondly remembered relative. 

When however, that child enters school, they are then forever known by the nickname given to them by their peers.  Mine was Wooly, based on my maiden name.  And the fact that there were seven Susans in my class.  We had to differentiate somehow.  Susan is a name very much of my era, I have met many since leaving school.  Like all names though their popularity is cyclical.  It’s now coming back into fashion.

What about the other names that are given to us and by which we are known.  I myself am a wife, a mother, a nana, an aunt, a great aunt (I prefer fabulous aunt), an in-law, a friend, a neighbour, a colleague.  I am now a celebrant and was once a teacher and a student. The list goes on, some names are fleeting, others travel with us through life. As people we wear lots of different hats.  Each of the names associated with us, come with different expectations.  

Let’s also remember, a person may choose to change their name as part of their gender transition. Being able to have the  recognition and support of family and friends is essential in accepting and establishing who they now are in the world.  Enabling them to celebrate life as their true self, is very special indeed.

So when choosing a name for a newborn, it is a lovely thought to share the name of a relative; giving the child an anchor to their history.  It is also rather wonderful to choose a name that is new, and without the constraints of history or the associated expectations.  A new name gifts the child the excitement of an unknown future, uncharted waters. The chance to build their life in the way that is perfect for them, truly unique and beautiful.