Monday, September 19, 2011

What's in a name?

Thanks to Mama Kat's for the writing prompt...

"What's in YOUR name? What does it mean? Why was it given to you? etc.."

Most of you already know me, I'm not going to lie. I'm pretty sure my only readers at this point are friends and family IRL. That's cool. I started off not wanting to use my name, and I'm still not going to use my last name on here, or the actual names of those around me. But my first name, now... I guess if I want to expand the readership of this blog beyond the thankfully kind, biased eyes of family and friends, perhaps having a name other than The ZB on here will be a better, warmer introduction. To new readers outside my circle of frequent face-time, I hope this will serve as a lovely sort of internet handshake. Or a hug. (Maybe one day I'll even post a picture.)

Hello. Let me officially introduce myself. 

My name is Beth. Full first and middle name? Elizabeth Ann. A nice, classic name. However, I happen to also be blessed with an assortment of nicknames, which are not necessarily nice or classic. I am frequently Bef to those who haven't mastered the "th" sound. Usually these are children, but not always. I have been known as Baby (as in "Nobody puts Baby in the corner"), B-Dawg, Lizard, Dizzy, Zabeth (just once, but I'll never forget it!), and Beefy. 

I was once the "Bif" half of the best-friend duo "Bif and Flem," coined by a guy friend of mine who already called me Bif occasionally. Then one day (I was told) he was feeling rather phlegmy and while hawking up a good glob he thought of my then-bestie. Sweet, huh? To throw her off track he spelled it Flem. He never told her that part of it though, he just showed up at school one day calling us Bif and Flem. 

The ZB, short for Zesty Bitch, was a nickname given to me by a then-stepbrother's best friend, who I worshiped. I worshiped the stepbrother too, but it was more of a hero-worship rather than the massive crush bestowed upon his friend. More on that some other time, but that nickname has stuck for a LOONG time. 

As for my given name, I share the name Elizabeth with my granny. Silly me, I assumed there was some sort of connection. At some point in my 19th year of life The Family was on vacation, and I'm pretty sure I learned The Truth while we were driving through Memphis. We somehow got on the subject of names, and I said something about being named after Granny. There was a brief pause, then Mom shook my little world when she said, "No you're not!"  Nope, she said, "I really liked that KISS song 'Beth,' and I wanted a little girl named Elizabeth that I would call 'Beth.'"

Can you say "identity crisis?" Because I had a little one there.

I don't remember my exact reaction to this mind-boggling news, but my mind was most definitely boggled. Then the outrage: I hate being made a liar, and now I felt like I had lied every time I had told someone I was named after my granny. How was I going to go back and tell everyone I had ever talked to about it that I was named for an awesome KISS song?? Because I definitely felt that was necessary.

So that's what my name is, what it roughly translates to, and why it was given to me. And although I've already said what it literally "means," that's not all it means to me. To me, it's a reminder of how you should never make assumptions about anything, that sometimes things that seem dull, quiet, and boring have a glimmer of awesome hiding underneath, waiting for someone to polish it up and find out what they've been missing.

And that my mom's secret badass-ery stretched a lot farther than I previously thought. I hadn't even really known she was a KISS fan. 

Kids, never underestimate how much of a badass your parents are. Maybe the only thing that stood between your parents and a rock-and-roll lifestyle of demonic grease paint, flame-attracting hairspray and tight leather was a little thing called "opportunity."

1 comment :

  1. Ask your mother and her badass self about a shirt that she LOVED to wear ... and that our granddaddy (your maternal great-granddaddy) did not like ... so much to the point that our beloved Aunt Bobbi covered one of its words with a piece of duct tape just to keep from offending him ..... yeah. Your mama always was a rebel (says her sedate, prim sister). ♥