Saturday, July 24, 2010

What's in a name?

I'm pretty sure I am automatically biased to enjoy the song "Laura", covered by Mates of State here. Yes, it's a cover, get over it.

I'm also pretty sure I have totally fallen in love with my name. Took me long enough, eh? I always loved my nickname, Lola. I couldn't get enough of it, and wished more people would take hold and run with it. The nickname was given to me before it was linked to any connotation of sauciness or seductress in my young brain. I've never been this kind of Lola.

My newfound love for my name began in Central America, where everyone pronounced my name Laurrra. Rhymes with pow-ra. I've never taken to any other versions of my name, such as the 'Lara' pronunciation, or the French 'Laure' by which I was addressed in French class throughout middle, high school and college. But BAM-- here was a name I loved. And it was already mine! One that fit just right, and thrilled me to the core whenever anyone said it. Well, let's be honest, especially when boys said it. I thought, if only I could claim a drop of Spanish blood, maybe some Argentinian blood (they're pretty light-skinned in general, more likely to be believed), then I could make everyone start pronouncing my name the Spanish way. And though many (many) people have asked me if I have any asian heritage, no one has ever considered that I may be of Spanish descent. Anyway, I don't like to lie. I wouldn't want my very name to be a lie. A name stands for something.

My name means: victorious. It comes from the laurels the Romans used to crown victors with. When I would read this in baby name books growing up, I just shrugged. Big whoop. But now, I love being reminded of it whenever my name is used. As we all know, there are many (many) people in this world who have exceptional challenges to overcome. And compared with them, my life seems easy. But we all have our demons, and I like the occasional encouragement I get in my battles just from hearing my own name.

I've been thinking about this post ever since I downloaded this Mates of State cover. I called my mom one day-- much to her surprise, it was my third call that day due to some postal service challenges. She was surprised to hear from me, and certainly surprised to be sidelined by the "Why did you name me _____?" question. I'd never asked before. And her response, as I'd anticipated, was a vague dance around Laura Ingalls Wilder and not remembering. Not exactly the meaningful, story-laden response I'd been hoping for. (Not to downplay Laura Ingalls-- we all very much enjoyed her books growing up, and though I haven't read them recently, she is to be very much respected for being a female authoress in times when it wasn't easy to be so.) But that's alright. We can all make of our circumstances what we want, what we need.

I'd also like to say, in relation to songs of names, every time I hear this song I wish my name was Kate. I have wanted to send a CD to my niece Kate with just this song on it, because I think she'd get a kick out of it (very danceable), but I already fear that her parents are going to be concerned about the un-LDS influence I could have on their children (TOTALLY my own paranoia here, not their's... as far as I know), and I don't want to be the one responsible for any of the Thomason kids asking the "what does it mean when they say she smokes pot?" question.