Most people have one name and that’s pretty much how it goes. Me, I have a number of names.
My given name is Diane Marie Samson, so for most of my life I have been known as Diane. I hate this name for a number of reasons. I don’t like the way it sounds, it isn’t the name I was supposed to have (that in itself is quite a long involved story), and other reasons that I won’t elaborate on right now except to say that I’m not thrilled with having the name of a Roman goddess since I’m Muslim (and before that I was Christian).
So several years ago I decided that I would like to be called by my middle name, Marie. It was the name I was supposed to be named until my mother read Diane in a movie magazine. This plan did not work out well with my family, who have always called me Diane or Di (another name I don’t like).
So I began using both names, Diane-Marie, which my family (except for my brother) has accepted pretty well. So on most things, I have become Diane Marie.
However, when I became Muslim, a friend asked me if he could give me my Muslim name, which is Fatima. In my masjid and among the groups I belong to such as the Tri-Faith Dialogue group, I am Fatima. My family will have nothing to do with Fatima so with them I remain Diane-Marie.
Okay, here is the long story of how I ended up with Diane Marie. My father wanted to name me Rosemary, after his baby sister who died shortly after birth. But my Irish grandmother nixed that because it is back luck to name a person after someone who died tragically or died young. So my father suggested Rosemarie, but my grandmother felt that was too close to Rosemary. He then wanted Marie, but my mother didn’t like that because my father’s cousin was named Marie and my mother felt it would be confusing. (Never mind that my oldest cousin and my grandfather have the same name and coincidentally, the cousin Marie named her daughter Dianne.) Then my mother read about an actress named Diane and she liked it, so there is was. That actress must have been popular because out of 90 kindergartners in my class, there were 4 Dianes. There were also 4 James’ (I married a James).
Popular names cause more confusion that double names within a family, in my opinion. In school I was Diane Samson until the 3 other Dianes went to other schools while other children were called by their first names only.
The other thing is that my name does not flow easily off the tongue. It has to do with the emphasis on the syllables. Diane has the emphasis on the final syllable and Samson is emphasized on the first syllable. So two emphasized syllables are together and it doesn’t make a pretty sound. Same with my sister’s name Joanne. Now my brother’s is fine: Patrick Samson. Two first syllable emphases.
So for today, D is for Diane, even though I don’t like it.
This post is part of a month-long series, A-Z, that I am participating in for the month of April.