What’s in a name?

Katherine slide leaves

Names play a significant role in our lives (especially in THIS girl’s life!)  Furthermore, name changes are an interesting part of our experience.  Let me share for a minute about my own name and it’s journey.

My birth name is Katherine, but when I was very young my family called me Kate.  In 2nd grade, I wanted to go by my original name, and because education often stressed phonetic spelling, it was “Katheren.”  I eventually spelled it the way it was given to me and used this name until the end of high school.  When I first came to BYU, I wanted a new identity.  Not brand spankin’ new, but a way to have somewhat of a fresh start.  I wasn’t a reformed bad girl or anything, but almost anyone can relate to wanting a clean slate when they first leave home.  I told every new person I met that my name was Katie.  Not anything too drastic, but the change was still significant.  But 2 years later, “Katherine” was calling my name again (see what I did there?), and so I used that name and continue to use it to this day.  My name journey was and continues to be very funny at times as some people to this day do not know whether to call me Kate, Katherine, or Katie.  I will respond to all, but 90% of the people in my life call me Katherine, so if in doubt, go with that.

Why does this matter to you?  May I suggest that you ponder your names.  First/last/middle/maiden/nicknames, etc.    What do they mean to you?  To your family?  I have known people who have chosen to take on new names after significant changes, such as religious conversions, therapy, and of course marriage.  Names are a part of our identity, and since we do not choose our own names from birth, there are times when individuals decide to change them on their own.  Deeper parts of the LDS theology reveal the significance of new names for those who desire to become closer to God.  Think about how Saul changed to Paul in the New Testament.  Oh, yah, AND my platonically beloved former counselor went from ______________ to Therapist Zach.  An alias, a pseudonym, but for a good purpose, I’d say.

Last soapbox for the day:  I am open and accepting, but whatever you do, do NOT name your child North West, or something weird like that.

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