Lately, I’ve been thinking about names.
One of my friends has started to call me (jokingly in an obnoxious Valley Girl accent) “Mar” short for Margaret. Most call me Maggie, some Mags, others still Margaret (mostly in jest, unless you’re my Mom, then it’s in anger). I have a myriad of nicknames; some adorable (Margo, Magpie, Magnet, Meggy), others rather dumb (Margie, Miggie, Magster), and others horrible (Fargaret, Marge the Barge, Magatha). I’ve gone by Maggie Kate and for one solid day in middle school by Meg. To my little sisters, I was Maah-Maah.
In France, it was the breathy provincial “Mahh-geeh”, always ending on an airy inflection, like a question. I preferred it to the French pronunciation of “Marrgrret” with the quick guttural “rr”. In Haiti, Maggie translated into Magi Tout Sauce, the bouillon cube sauce. I loved it. It was me completely, silly, unexpected, and accepted. In Hong Kong, it was Missy, or Teacher, or “Meess Mahghee”, hard emphasis on the “ghee”. In China, the university students I became fast friends with gave me a Chinese name, Mei Yi. Mei is a common surname but it’s also a type of flower that blooms in winter, known for its perseverance. Yi means easy-going, someone who makes others comfortable. My name is sister, daughter, friend, teacher.
I feel like I wear my names like clothes, slipping into them with ease. Names make me think of the concept of self. Am I more of a Margaret or a Maggie? Does my soul truly reflect this distinction? Does a rose by any other name truly smell as sweet if it’s called Magatha? To me, my self is a river. It’s constantly moving, changing, adapting, expanding, waxing, waning. It can be identified by whatever word chosen, but that doesn’t change its watery composition. They say you can’t step into the same river twice, but if you do, you can sure bet it’ll still be water. I am my self, today as Mar, tomorrow as Mags. So wherever my travels will take me, whatever new names and roles I anticipate, I know I’ll always be me.
So there’s some Sunday musings for you! Affectionately yours,