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Reverb10: Name

Prompt for Dec 23: New name. Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?

I didn’t like my name when I was growing up. It seemed so ordinary, so dull. I called myself Debbie in an effort to jazz things up–even went so far as to spell it Debbi for a brief while, in middle school, complete with a little heart as the dot over the i. Debbie was the name emblazoned on the back of my pom-pom girl sweater, the name on scrawled on my homework, the name all my friends used, the name I brought to college.

It wasn’t until I spent a summer in the mountains of Colorado with my aunt Deborah, my godmother, that I found those other syllables in my name. Debbie stayed in the mountains, I guess you could say, and Deborah came back.  Now I cringe when people call me Debbie–and people do it all the time. I introduce myself as Deborah and get “nice to meet you, Debbie,” which I really don’t understand. If I take the trouble to introduce myself in a particular way, why wouldn’t you assume that the name I gave you is the name I’d like you to use? I mean, if you introduce yourself to me as Sam, can I just call you, I don’t know, Tony?

It’s hard, this late in the game, to imagine another name for myself, although as a very young girl I would daydream over the color plate of gemstones in our big dictionary and think about having a name like “chrysoprase,” or “onyx.” I was the only fourth-grader I knew who had already chosen her nom de plume.  It was a name I chose that fit the sweeping historical novels I planned to write–novels with titles like “The Flame and the Sword Flower,” or “Sweet Rachel’s Revenge.” I needed a name that fit my ambitions, a name with drama.

Now, however, my name is my name. Didn’t change it when I got married, don’t plan on changing it now. And anything I publish from here on in will be under my name…not Chalcedony Devereaux.

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