What is in a name?

Names are everywhere and in everything. We name or label everything around us, what we do, how we interact with each other, our animals, well everything. We are given a name when we are born to help identify who we belong to, or at least that’s my understanding. I recall one of the first things I was asked after Dax was born which was what’s his name? What are we calling Baby Adams?

We had a list of names that we went into the hospital with for him, I couldn’t choose. When he was born the only one I could remember is the one he was given. Our motivation for his name was to provide something unique that couldn’t be used to bully him in school, or at least to our best ability. Here is the down side to what we named our first child. He is often call Jackson or Jax when his name is Daxen and he goes by Dax. I find myself having to spell his name to get people to understand.

The other downside – no memorabilia that has his name on it. You know the pens, key chains, and other stuff that you find in stores with names on it. He doesn’t have one. I remember not having one growing up either and it made me a bit sad. I was happy to have a unique name, but sad there wasn’t anything I could purchase with my name on it when my sister could.

Inadvertently, we used the same initials for my first child as my husband, which we didn’t realize until we were trying to figure out a name for our second son. First son initials = DLA, husband initials DLA, middles names being Leonard to honor my father’s father, and Leslie from my husband which is his father’s name. So what to do with the second boy child? Well, we had to use the same initials I have which is SJA. Finding a boy name starting with S that we both liked and we knew couldn’t be really turned into a bullying thing was a bit harder than we had thought. We also wanted to honor another grandparent, but found finding one with a J name was also hard.

This took almost 6 months, while boy 2 was still growing, to land on a name we were comfortable with and a middle name that did what we hoped it would do. Boy 2 got the name Seth and John after my husband’s grandfather’s father. We later found out that I had a great-grandfather also named John so it worked well for all families, not that they needed to be made happy.

So what is in our names and how to do we resonate or develop our personalities in response to our names? Or do our names even impact how our personalities develop? Some people have wonderful stories about their names while others don’t have a story as to how they were named. I am glad my kids can share a story, but I hope that it doesn’t impact their personalities as they grow.

My full given name is Sabrina Jennifer Smook Anderson, now Adams (not intentionally staying in that part of the alphabet). Sabrina was decided on by my mother who wanted something a little more unique. Jennifer is what my father wanted, a compromised was made so it became my middle name. I later found out he actually wanted Katherine.  Smook is my mother’s maiden name.  The intention was to hyphenate the last name being Smook-Anderson but they missed the hyphen. Anderson is my fathers last name. Nothing extraordinary there, no real special meaning behind how I was given my name.  I certainly appreciate that they named me uniquely.

I can’t say that my name impacted my personality, but I can say that it suits me in it’s uniqueness and some of the other connections people make to the name Sabrina, like the Teen Aged Witch, and other movie, TV shows or book representations. I am not offended by these references which I receive often, even into my adulthood. I actually embrace them fully, which can make people uncomfortable when they try to joke about Sabrina the Teenage Witch and I retort, maybe.

But you given names are only one way in which we connect to the world and how those around us connect with us. As we grow we become more connected with our communities which include sports, volunteer experiences, school experiences, employment, parenting, and so many others. Each of these connections provides a label or name: volunteer, mother, parent, guardian, player, coach, spectator, and so much more. AND each of these labels comes with a set of expectations, which I could go on to explain, but your smart.

Names also evolve over time as you become more deeply embedded into your social groups. I am part of a gaming community and my name has changed as I have become more connected with that community.

I started off as Seryne (pronounced serene) as I was a lone female being added to the community I felt the need to have a quite, calm name.  I used this handle (Avatar, screen name, etc) for a few years with that particular community.  When I changed communities my name also started to evolve.  My input to the community changed, I started to be looked to for leadership.  Seryne just didn’t fit well anymore.  My character names were still Seryne and then I added Syryn (Siren).

As my role evolved with this new community I was also given the name The Voice.  This was a result of creating audio pod casts for the community.  Syryn The Voice has been my name within the community for the last 6 plus years.  Some members know me by my real name as we have created close friendships, but most call me Syryn.

I have other names now too.  Mom, colleague, friend, partner, wife, daughter, sister, -in-law, student, adviser, coordinator, and many many others.  All of these are part of who I am and they cross over into each other.

Something that I have not had stick is a nickname.  You could call my screen name a nickname, but that is usually only used online with my gaming community.  Friends have tried, Sabs, Brena, Beany have been tried and stick for a while, but it always comes back to my full name.  Not that I mind.

Names are important in how we refer to ourselves and also place ourselves within the hierarchy of our lives.  They frame our relationships with others as well as give insight into how people see us.  I have nothing to hide about my name and enjoy all of the positive ones that have been given to me.  The negative ones, well, no one likes those.

As we reflect on our different names and labels review the ones that serve you well and that help to advance your dreams. Do your best to discard those that don’t serve you, but maybe reflect on why others might see you under that label. You are the one that has to resonate with the names and if you don’t find something else. I know a number of people who don’t go by their first given name because it just doesn’t resonate with how they interact with the world. I also know a few who have changed their names. A name is how you want to be recognized and it should make you feel powerful, or at least comfortable when it is used.

However, I get really confused when celebrities use the most odd names for their children. Do they not realize the impact that it could have on all sorts of interactions their children will have in the future?


Published by Sabrina J. Adams (Syryn TheVoice)

I have many different hats that I wear. Throughout my life I have been many different things: a small business owner, problem solver, mother, friend, sister, writer, designer, employee, manager, consultant, gamer, leader and many more buzz words that I can't think of. Many of these I still do, but some I have let go to focus more on the here and now. I like to share my experiences, ideas and funny things I run across. Ask me something and I will provide an honest and likely unfiltered opinion. I am still learning about life, myself, relationships, parenting and well everything else. I am not superwoman and don't really have my life together, but I manage and am willing to share my tips and learnings. Writing for me can be cathartic and sharing makes us not feel so alone in this crazy, mess of a world we currently inhabit.

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