Bobbie Null vs. Barbara A. Whittington
I often wonder what's in a name. My name from the time I was born until I was 18 was Bobbie Ann (Null). Barbara was shortened to Bobbie by my father, so I'm told. I never knew my dad as he died when I was two years old. A story for another time!
After I left West Virginia to move with my husband to Cleveland for a job, my new friends there seemed to think Bobbie was a funny name for a new wife and mother. Bobbie Ann even more so.
Where I was from having two names was common - down in the hills - and more often than not you were called by those two names. Bobbie Ann, Donna Sue, Ella Louise - myself and two of my sisters. Mother often said all of those names at once when referring to us, especially IF she wasn't happy with us!
When I started back to college, I gave my name as Barbara and from that time on, it stuck. As I began to be published I kept that name as my byline. The name felt more professional and adult. (What did I know?) I finally learned we are not our names. Jeez!!!
As I got older I started wondering what was behind all the name changing. What was I trying to say? Why did I suffer so much discomfort at being called the name I grew up with?
Who was I really? Who did I want to be? Was I running away from something or wanting to be someone other than who I really was? I suspect the answer might be yes. I'll need to do more pondering on that one.
What's in a name, really? Do we think we can get away from our past by changing our name as we head into our future?
Whatever the reason for the name change, I have now come full circle. My past has met my present and I am fully comfortable being called Bobbie or Bobbie Ann, which is what my family down home have always called me anyway. They didn't care what city people thought. Bobbie Ann was Bobbie Ann and my friend Billy Joe was Billy Joe. A name is a name and that's that!!!
Both names feel good now, comfortable, but especially Bobbie Ann. It fits like an old coat. Or better yet, like the soft chenille robe I once had that I used to snuggle up in on cool fall evenings and watch the Andy Griffith show. Yes, that is REAL comfort. Coming back to oneself.
How about you, do you have a name you were once called and then felt it no longer fit as your circumstances changed?
Did you have a nickname? Or a name you hated? Or loved? Let me hear about it! Thanks! And bless your heart for stopping by.
PS Remember my novel Vada Faith is at Amazon waiting for you to come on over and take a look at her. Read some of the reviews left by my readers. Friends and strangers alike seem to like Vada Faith. To tell you the truth, I still like her too.