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Hi! I'm Arianne. I'm a technical writer by day, painter/baker/short-story writer by night. Oh, and I love cats.
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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"What's in a name?"

I know, I know.  I suck at this blog lately.  I'm gonna try to be more dependable with my posts... maybe.  Maybe one day I'll just publish all of the drafts of unpublished posts on here and you guys can see just how much I filter this thing.  We'll see if this one makes it through the screening process.


I came about the topic of this post in a sort of roundabout way.  Let me explain.

No, there is too much.  Let me sum up. (Have I used this quote on here before?  It's highly possible.  I'm a sucker for a good Nacho Libre reference.)

I switched into a Shakespeare class today.  I was going to be taking Spanish this semester, but I realized pretty quickly that I just didn't think I could handle it (language classes here are really tedious).  I decided last night that the best solution was to push Spanish back to next Fall and pull my required Shakespeare class forward.  We're reading "The Taming of the Shrew" (not Romeo and Juliet.  Don't let the title of this post mislead you.  I'll get there.  I promise.  I hope.).

Meanwhile, I also work on the student journal for the linguistics department.  Actually, I'm the new Managing Editor!  But that's a random story for a different random blog post. Moving on, I was at the journal fair this afternoon trying to recruit some fresh meat, and I was talking to my Editor in Chief -or, rather, he was explaining to me- about the different uses of pronouns in Shakespeare and how the uses have sort of reversed since Shakespeare's time.  

Tonight, I got home and checked my facebook.  The first thing I saw was a post the Editor in Chief had made about the etymology of the word "apron".

Let me see if I can tie together my thinking process for you guys here.  I'm kind of confusing myself as I type it all out.  Basically, I started out this morning with a class on Shakespeare.  My thought process took a turn when the EC explained a connection between Romeo and Juliet and linguistics.  I'm not sure about you guys, but I can't think about Romeo and Juliet without thinking of  "That which we call a rose/ By any other name would smell as sweet".  And then I saw the EC's post about the etymology of the word "apron".

Shakespeare-->Romeo and Juliet-->R&J name quote-->Linguistics-->Etymology= "What's in a name?"  Which then got me thinking about what's in my name.

Which is actually a subject that I've happily researched before!

Did any of that make sense?  I didn't really do a good job of "summing up".  A better summation probably would have been "I've been thinking lately about the etymology of my name".  But I spent a lot of time typing out that explanation above, so I'm not going to delete it.  Hopefully anyone who reads this post will instinctively gloss over the first six paragraphs or something.

So.  We've finally reached the actual subject of this post: my name.  

I'm pretty dang proud of my name.  
Apparently my mom had a roommate in college who was named Arianne.  My mom liked that name so much that she decided to give it to me, her firstborn child and daughter.  My dad went along with it because there was a song that he really liked about some girl named "Arianna".

I think some people dislike their names, or feel that their name doesn't match who they really are, but I have been blessed to never have those complaints.  However, I realized at a very young age that my name was not a common one.  For as long as I remember, I have had to repeat my name and explain its pronunciation to every teacher, babysitter, new friend, etc.  My mom taught me when I was little to tell people who had trouble with it that it was "Mary-Ann without the M".  I'm so used to people not saying my name right that I answer to just about anything that starts with a "A" and ends with a "n".  I've never really understood why people can't pronounce it, especially when it's written in front of them.  I definitely did not understand why the girl reading the announcements in middle school called me "A-ring-ha".  Sound it out, people!  When people butcher my name, I always think of this clip from Brian Regan:

Despite everyone else struggling with my name, I've always loved it.  However, the constant explanations that my name requires created a strong interest in learning more about my name.

So, one day after I got home from middle school, I googled the meaning.  I had a little trouble finding it at first, but then I discovered that my name comes from the name "Ariadne", a name everyone is familiar with now thanks to Inception.  I found two backgrounds.  The first was a story from Greek mythology about how a princess named Ariadne saves her true love, Theseus, from death-by-minotaur.  Theseus then proceeds to abandon Ariadne on a deserted island.  I chose to ignore the Greek background for a long time because I felt it was ominous for my future love life.  Instead, middle-school-me latched onto the French translation, which is "most holy".  This was further proof to the already firm belief of middle-school-me that I was incredibly special.   

My next move was to look up my brother's name and then rub in the fact that my name was "most holy" and his was "boy of the dale". 

I've long since abandoned my belief that I was holier than all y'all, but I have never lost the pride that I have of my name. I tell my mom frequently that it's a shame for my future daughters, because I refuse to name them after me, which means that they'll never have a name as cool as mine.

I guess that's the main point of this ridiculously rambling post.  I love my name.  I think it's swell.  I can't imagine being named anything else.

And to all the people who don't like their name, maybe you should look up where it comes from.  If you're lucky like me, it might have a pretty cool history!  Even if you have my brother's luck, at least you'll be a little more informed.  I encourage everyone to love their names, because I think loving your name helps you love yourself. 

Unless you're named Lemonjello or something equally ridiculous.  If that's you, you should be steadily working towards getting that changed so that you can stop being an urban legend.