Tuesday, August 24, 2010

what's in a name?

 
When I was a kid, I did not like the name Katrina.  Not at all.  I often wished my parents would have named me Jennifer or Melissa or Stephanie.  Katrina was different.  In a world of mean little kids, where I already felt like I didn’t fit in, my name was just one more thing that set me apart.  There were no personalized items sold with my name on them (though I always looked just in case).  I don’t know why I felt like I needed a pencil, mug, toothbrush or key chain adorned with my name, but the fact that I couldn’t have one burned me up. 

I had short hair when all the girls had long hair. I was chubby. I wore glasses. I had an overbite.  Add to that a straight A average, playing the flute and a love of reading and you can see why I blamed it all on being named Katrina.  My name was NOT cool.  You see, had my parents named me Michelle or Amy or Angela, I would most definitely have been popular.  My face wouldn’t have broken out.  I would have been asked to dances.  I wouldn’t have won the shop award.  And I wouldn’t have constantly been asked if I was “walking on sunshine” and where were “the waves”?  If only I hadn’t been named Katrina.

Turns out, I’m much more comfortable with my name now.  I have a fucking hurricane named after me.  My friends and family call me “Kat” for short.  I like that – Kat is light and fun and cute – all of the things I longed to be way back when.  Now that I can order labels with my name on them I find I label everything possible with “Katrina”.  I even kind of like that my name is a bit different and hints at my Danish background (after all, Scandinavians are known for being incredible lovers, right?).  I’ve grown my hair out now, my teeth are straight, I sport stylish (Danish) glasses.  What was chubby before is now “curves in all the right places”.  Plus, it turns out intelligence is super sexy, as is being well read.  And the shop award?  That has been my pièce de résistance thus far in life. 

To think, I was almost named Danica…

20 comments:

  1. As a "Jennifer" I can tell you I too was made fun of incessantly. I was tall. I had freckles. I was "Jennifer the Giraffe". My legs were too skinny, my eyes too big and I too was too smart for my own good it seemed back then.

    I think we both grew up pretty darned amazingly, Kat!

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  2. we definitely grew into ourselves that's for sure!

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  3. Amanda Pascoe8:31 PM

    When I was in Grade 3 or 4 a book was found in the school library by my classmates that was called "Amanda the Gorilla". 'Nuff said, I never lived it down. Now that I'm older I like it, plus I've always liked my middle name of Kathryn, mostly because it was spelled the way it is - I liked that it was different. Of course I also like that I have a new last name :P

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  4. oh snap...that is tough... glad you have been able to embrace it.

    every time someone finds out my son's name is Max they tell me about their dog also named Max. love that! ;-/

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  5. Yeah, as a Stephanie (former last name: Smith!!!) I did not love being one of many in every school. And even with the name Stephanie I was still tall, skinny and clumsy. Having such a common name I think I cursed both my kids with fairly uncommon names. They too can never find cups or toothbrushes with their names on them. Thank goodness for Mabels - ha!

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  6. back then I would have traded you all of that just to be skinny. ;-)

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  7. I have total social anxiety when it comes to calling people on the phone and I directly link this to having a super-popular name and always worrying that the person on the other end of line wouldn't know which Jennifer was calling. It got worse when I got older and started dating because I hated being qualified as "insert-boyfriend-name-here's Jennifer".

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  8. huh. I have ALWAYS been SO jealous of your name Jennifer!!!

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  9. Vanessa Laraine10:20 PM

    I never liked my (former) middle name. EVER. I stopped using it about 10 years ago and have since adopted my mother's much nicer middle name instead. Since I look exactly like my dad and I'll never change my last name, I figure I'm pretty tied to him, so taking my mom's second name is a good way to tie me to her too :)

    Yay for Danes, btw. I feel that Scandinavians are the only exotic white people ;)

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  10. Vanessa - your middle name is Laraine? Really??? omg... I think I need to mail you a lemon loaf or something.

    and amen to Scandinavians being the only exotic white people! we deserve some sort of recognition besides just for being pasty.

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  11. Vanessa Laraine10:44 PM

    Hey Kat! Yes, my middle name is Laraine, as is my mother's, and I love it :)

    I don't quite get the lemon loaf reference ... please elaborate :)

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  12. Vanessa Laraine10:54 PM

    Oh ... I must have missed yesterday's post :p

    different spelling though ...

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  13. Anonymous11:03 PM

    It could have been worse. It could have been Betty.

    mb

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  14. Hey Kat.
    I totally feel your lack of joy in having a name that doesn't appear anywhere. I really wanted to have monogrammed pencils when I was a kid. No go.

    My name doesn't exist. Literally. If you type it into one of those name meaning websites - it doesn't exist.

    Add to that the fact that people who have only seen my name think I am a man. So awesome, right? But now I don't think I could ever be called anything else. Funny how that goes.

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  15. I wonder if Cameron will have that problem...hope she doesn't get pissed off at me!

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  16. When I was 7 or 8, I remember fighting with my mom asking and begging if I could change my name to Max. I always thought that was a cool name - and I still do! ;)

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  17. Lol. And I wanted to be "Christine" so bad...

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  18. I was Linda in sea of Jennifers, and the only Lindas I knew were old... like 40. Now that I'm nearing 40 and am more comfortable in my own skin I think Linda fits just fine. Oh, and I wanted to be called Jayne and it didn't help that I didn't have a middle name to give me other choices. Linda. 40. And fabulous.

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  19. Lol. I can't imagine calling a toddler "Linda" - though I am quite fond of the name!? Same goes for Rhonda and Maxine, also names I love.

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