When I was a kid, I didn't like my name. I actually had a hard time with my name until I was an adult -- just a few years ago.
Why didn't I like it? Because my name was "Different". Do you know how many times I wished I were an Amy or a Jennifer? Why couldn't I be a Heather or a Kelly? Perhaps an Angie or a Julie? In any grade of any year during my elementary school years these were common names in multiples. In fact, in my afternoon Kindergarten class at Concord Oxbow there were 3 Kelly's. Yep, Kelly Row, Kelly Webster and Kelly Koolidgeschmidt. During High School my group of friends had 3 Julies. There were so many common names, but not one person I knew was named Emma. Or at least not in my "decade."
My great Aunt's name was Emma. But, she was "old". I had heard of an actress named Emma Thompson, but she wasn't in any of the kid's movies I'd seen. I remember when adults would ask me my name and I'd say "Emma", the most common response I'd ever get was "My grandmother's name was Emma!" Great, I used to think. I have an old lady's name.
When I was around age 14 a lady at church was pregnant, and told me that she and her husband considered the name Emma for their baby. But then they opted for Emily. I remember thinking, WHY would they choose EMMA? When I was a senior in High School Kindergarten Cop came out. There was a little girl character named Emma. I thought, "Wha-???" But that movie must have been the catalyst to bring that name back. Because that year, it seemed like babies were being named Emma left and right. Even my cousin named their baby Emma.
For nearly 20 years the name Emma has been near the tops of the popular baby name list. I remember when I was 19 and pregnant, someone asked me if I had a girl if I would name her Emma. Immediately I said, "no", and then someone close to me said, "Good. I don't really like that name." Even though I was embarrassed by my name, it really hurt to have this person say this to me. But, I continued to feel that my name must not be a good name.
But then, a few years ago, I had a close friend tell me all the time how much he loved my name. And Big-D would tell me that he liked my name too. This actually made me feel quite a bit better about my name. And during the course of the last 2 1/2 years (since being divorced) I have realized that I actually *do* like my name.
It's true, it might be a "different" name for people of MY generation. But let's face it, I am different from others of MY generation. And I don't just like my name because it's "in" all of a sudden. I think I grew to like it, because I grew to finally like me... love me, actually.
There has been a lot of trials and challenges and moments of discovery and clarity about who I am. To reflect upon the things I have endured is actually quite empowering. To ponder the discoveries I have found about myself is quite exciting. To finally feel like "me" in my own skin is quite refreshing. And to finally love my name is...fulfilling.
And I do love my name now, because I love me. If I were having a baby girl and someone asked me today if I'd give her my name...I just might say "yes"... at least for a middle name.
Oh - and just don't call me "Em" without prior written authorization :) That nickname is only reserved for certain men I am endeared towards... and a very few close friends :)