Topic: Do you like your name?

Cindy Thinks

Ally Thinks

Do I like the name Cindy?

I guess its okay.  It’s not a bad name.  It has two syllables (I like names with two syllables).  And it’s kind of cute.  I mean when I think of the name “Cindy” I think of a cute girl, probably with blonde pigtails, sitting on an old wooden swing hanging from the limb of a single tree on top of a hill, on a bright cheery day.

(What a strange vision I seem to have.)

So I don’t really relate to the name.

I know I’m blonde, but I never did the pigtail thing…or the swing thing for that matter.  Now that I’m 54 years old…it’s really an absurd vision of the name.  OY.

I, like millions of other folks, had no control over the name I was given, and was always referred to with my shorter nickname (Cindy) of my longer, more formal, real first name…Cynthia.

I like Cynthia, but I have absolutely no personal relationship to the name.  It was the name that I had to learn to write in Kindergarten, but I knew that even though I had to learn how to spell it…nobody would ever use it to reference me.

I was Cindy.  From the day I was born.

My mother used to tell me that she named me Cynthia after Elizabeth Taylor in the movie with the same name.  I never saw the movie.  I’ve seen just about every other Elizabeth Taylor movie, but somehow, Cynthia has eluded me over the years.

So, when writing this post I decided to look it up (love that Google) and see what my namesake was up to in the movie.  Here’s the first blurb I found…

Cynthia (1947) was Elizabeth Taylor’s coming-of-age film, the one in which the intense and determined young girl who had become a star at the age of 12 in National Velvet (1944) became an intensely lovely and just as determined young woman.

Nice!  Mom named me after a girl of intense loveliness and determination.  I could live with that!

But then I read on…

Based on an unsuccessful Broadway play, Cynthia is the story of a sickly, sheltered teen who rebels against her parents’ overprotectiveness, finds a boyfriend, goes to the prom, and gets her first kiss.

Really?  First…they made a movie based on an unsuccessful Broadway play?  NOT A GOOD IDEA.

And then…she was sickly and sheltered and her only great accomplishments were that she rebeled against her parents, finds a boyfriend, goes to the prom and gets her first kiss.

Whoop  Whoop.

And…It was a flop.  According to a critic for the New York Times, “Cynthia is a synthetic morsel — right out of the Metro candy box.”

Thanks mom.

But…more than 40 years later, British critic Alexander Walker re-evaluated, calling Cynthia one of Taylor’s “unjustly forgotten triumphs of tact, sympathy, pathos and insistent self-assertion; and the identification with Cynthia by the bobby-soxers who saw it must have been total. It is one of the most likeable movies of adolescent independence.”

AHA! “One of the most likeable movies of adolescent independence.”  Now I understand why my mom loved the movie.

She also used to tell me that she named me after the Character/Movie because she thought Elizabeth Taylor was one of the most beautiful women EVER and she wanted her girl to have the name that embodied that beauty.

Woohoo!!!  What a mom.

But she never called me Cynthia, even when she was mad at me.  I was always Cindy.

(And just for the record, I haven’t been able to find any beautiful girls in the movies named Cindy)

The funny thing is…I don’t feel like people actually call me by my name…directly.  I know they refer to me as Cindy (to others), and once in a great while…someone begins a sentence to me by starting out with “Cindy….”  But it doesn’t happen all that often.

It actually feels strange when someone calls me Cindy (to my face).  I feel like I jerk my head up and wonder who they’re actually talking to.  It’s like an out of body experience somehow.

I know I’m Cindy.  I sign my name easily as Cindy.  I respond to it on those occasions when someone uses it.  But I still don’t really relate to it.

It’s just kind of there.  A label separate from me, but somehow, a part of me.

I wonder if others feel the same way about their name?

I wonder what Alexandra B  thinks about her name?

There’s nothing wrong with my name.

Alexandra is beautiful and elegant and unique.

But I’m not called Alexandra (unless I’m in trouble; when Mom breaks out the full name, it’s bad news).

Until I was 14, my name was Alex.  Growing up, I was the only girl named Alex that I knew.  I was made fun of constantly because I had a “boy’s name”.

(Especially from boys named Alex.  I think they felt threatened meeting a girl with the same name.)

(Knowing that didn’t make it any easier for me, though.)

On top of being a source of ridicule for me, the name “Alex” was also a pain in the ass.  In elementary school, it was hard to do those poems where you write your name down the side of the page and then use the letters to write words to describe yourself.

Like A is for Awesome.

And L is for Likable.

And E is for Excellent.

And X is for… well, shit.

(My teacher once told me to just pick a word with “X” as the second letter, like “eXcited” or “eXtra special” or “eXtremely uncomfortable in social situations”.  It totally ruined the poem’s flow.)

So when I got to high school, I changed it.  I wanted high school to be different, and I didn’t think I could do it with Alex as my name.

So I asked everyone to call me Ally.

(Truthfully, I don’t really see myself as an “Ally” either, but I liked it better.)

Now that I’m “grown up”, I actually like Alex, especially for a girl.  But I still don’t think that I can pull it off.  I just don’t look like an Alex or Ally.

(I’ve actually had one girl say that I make a terrible Ally and should really be an Autumn or something.  I didn’t really know what to say to that.)

Now my middle name?  My middle name kicks ass.

My middle name is all mine.

It’s “B“.

It doesn’t stand for anything, so it’s “B” with no period after it.  (And even though I told both my high school and college that a period after the B wasn’t correct, they insisted on putting it on my diplomas.)

It symbolically represents my maternal great-grandmother’s names (they were both named Bessie) (yes, both), but “Bessie” doesn’t really go with “Alexandra” (seriously, “Alexandra Bessie”?), so my parents just made it B.

Plus, with a super long first name like “Alexandra”, and an eight letter last name, a single letter middle name is pretty necessary.

(Do you have any idea how long it takes me to fill in the bubbles on those standardized testing sheets?)

I love it.  I’m the only person I’ve met with a middle name that’s one letter (so if you have the same thing, please don’t tell me and burst my bubble).

I may not identify very much with my first name, but my middle name has become a huge part of my identity.

And with B as my middle name, I’m ABC (just like my daddy), and that?  Makes up for any problems I’ve ever had with my first name.

  1. Do you like your name?