“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”-From William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet
It was my dad’s choice for me to be named Sharon. He wanted to name their second daughter Sharon but my mom really wanted her to be Sherri instead, so Sherri it was. After they had 2 girls and 1 boy, they didn’t plan to have anymore but when my mom was 40, she got a surprise. Since my mom picked the last girl name, my dad got his wish. On September 24th, 1983 I was born.
I guess you could say I had an “understanding” with my name. It was one of those names where I didn’t hate it but if I had more choice, there were much cooler sounding names I could have. It was also a bit annoying being called “Sherri” by accident by people because it sounded like “Sharon” sort of…..and then I would be like, nope…You can’t even call me that as a nickname cause that’s my sister! There were many times in my life I wondered why the heck people would name their kids two names that are so alike.
I also thought it was a “plain” sounding name at times. If you look up the meaning of “Sharon”, in Hebrew, it refers to “the plains of Sharon”, which is an Old Testament place name. The fact that my name seems plain to me and actually ends up meaning “plain” has a comical aspect almost. Within the “plain” of my name came the reason to love it too, though. In the Bible, it speaks of Jesus being the Rose of Sharon, meaning a rose from the plains of Sharon. Some translations say it might have actually been a crocus or another flower, but I’ll stick with rose. I love roses and at one time, I wanted my name to be Rose Marie. Now I like Sharon just fine and every time I hear “Rose of Sharon”, it makes me smile. I even had a rose engraved on one side of my class ring when I graduated high school. Why? 1) Because of the spiritual meaning between a rose and my name and 2)my love for roses.
But what’s really IN a name?
I was thinking on that question this morning and the quote from Romeo & Juliet popped in my head. In the play, Juliet quotes this to state just how moronic and childish the whole Montague/Capulet issue really is. She says, “‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy.” The whole problem with Romeo is not that he is a bad guy or not truly fit for Juliet but that his name is wrong. His name is the enemy of her family therefore their love is forever doomed. She wishes then he could just throw off his name like you would clothing. The example of the rose is that you could call a rose whatever name you like and it wouldn’t change how the rose smells. Call it a skunk and it would still be the same sweetness. In other words, It only matters what something IS, not what it’s called.
I remember back to right before I was married. I was about to change my name for the very first time. I had already practiced writing it dozens of times like little girls with crushes do. I had said my new name over and over in my head to see just what it would sound like. All that was left to do was to make it official. The day came and I went from being a “Lane” to a “Hughes”. I expected to feel different. Kind of like when I turned 16 or 18 or 21…any of those milestone ages. Of course, every time I turned any of those ages, I never felt different. I thought I would, but it was just another day. So I’m not sure why I expected much different in changing names but I did.
I thought, my name is changing so this is going to be this change in myself that I will feel. Nope. In fact, it took me quite awhile to remember to sign my new name instead of my old one. Every few minutes for the first few days as a newlywed, I would be like, “I’m Mrs. Hughes now! I’m married!” as if I needed to remind myself or I would forget. It drove me a little crazy that the name change didn’t change me inside like I thought it would.
But now that all this time has gone by, I now think, “Why would it change anything?” After all, no matter what I was named at birth and no matter what my last name may be now, I am still the same ME. When my husband calls me a pet name, that NAME is not me. I AM me.
I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, a singer, a silly person, a performer, a dreamer, a kid at heart and so much more. There’s not a name out there that can define all I am nor all that YOU are. They say age is nothing but a number….I think a name is nothing more than an identifier. A way to tell who is who instead of resorting to saying, Person #1, Person #2, etc.
So…Who are YOU? Are you more than your name?