What’s in a name?

My name is Melony. It’s not just a clever title on my blog.

It’s unique. I’ve loved it since forever.

Growing up, it did suck sometimes, though. I could never find my name anywhere. I could find my sister’s and brother’s, though, so it was a little disappointing.

A year after I was born, my sister was born. But even before that, my parents had come up with two names for me. I was to be a twin. Apparently. Well, not really. They prepared for me to be a twin. When I was born solo, they kept the first name. Melony.

The second name? Melody.

They loved it so much that they decided to keep it when a second child arrived 18 months later.

So I have a sister named Melody.

Yep. It was as confusing as it sounds. Further to that, my mom made an honest mistake when naming me. She thought the name was spelt Melody with an N. It was put on my birth certificate, and then some nurse confirmed that it was misspelled, and Momma cried. She’d ruined my life.

My life was never ruined. I was the first born. I was the one with the pretty sounding and spelled name. I loved it for its uniqueness and how it made me feel special.

The injustice was done to my sister.

By using the name meant for a twin, it caused it to appear as if she received the leftover name. And for her whole life, she has believed that. How could she not? They had a year and a half to give her another name, but they chose to keep it.

For years, I thought she was being ridiculous. She wasn’t getting a leftover name. She had a beautiful name, and all she needed to do was forget I was her sister.

But the names had affected both of us. Because we looked similar, people often compared me with her and her with me. When she couldn’t sing a song on-stage and I could, people would come to me and say things like, “well, that wasn’t so hard, was it?”

I detested it. People couldn’t tell the difference, either, so our name became Melondy just to cover all bases. And because of her high-functioning autism (later diagnosed), she wanted to be involved in everything I did.

She had defined my life as much as I did hers.

Our names were easily shortened to Mel. I was the oldest and I was the one that got it, but she wanted that name, as well. But because she was the second born, she became Dee/Dy. She hated the name. Yet, I still call her that today and find it difficult when I hear others call her Mel.

I was in my twenties before I had that lightbulb moment. There’s no way to forget I was her sister. She had a pretty name, but so did I. And my life had overshadowed her own.

I was the writer, the singer, the flutist, and the actress. My dad loved the arts. He was always so proud of me. And I was often in the spotlight, because it’s easy for the arts to be on display. Melody had been the mathematician, physicist, and scientist. He was incredibly proud of her too, and often told me how he was certain she’d go further than I ever would. Only he barely verbalized it to her. So in her eyes, she was completely invisible.

So what is in a name? – Everything. It is the first thing that defines you. Before you even understand anything, you become what your name says. It is generally pretty hard to escape. So when you are given a name that is not good, it can have a negative impact on your life.

There are heaps of studies on the effect of poor naming, and I can see those effects in my life. We had great names, so we were not unlucky there. It was simply our close proximity in age, looks, and names that caused us issues.

I don’t regret my name being misspelled, and I don’t regret having a sister that I love very much. I regret not seeing it sooner how horrible it must have been for her to wish she had been born first. For her to be visible. And for her to be the only Mel.

 

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14 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. Names are interesting. My youngest sister was called Toni when very young but switched to Antoinette by the time I could speak, because ‘Toni was a boy’s name’ and then changed it back to Toni as an adult.
    Since I only knew her as Antoinette until she was an adult, I still always call her Antoinette, but our older siblings always call her Toni.
    Its very hard to unassociate a person with a name. I sympathise with your sister, although I am not sure the name changes how we interact with her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’d be surprised how much it does change the way people interact when we were younger. Now that we’re adults and worlds apart, it is much easier to find that sense of identity that was lost in those years.

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  2. Loved this! .. I feel sorry for your Sister..:( I love my name. Its funny because i used to hate it growing up. Everyone could get those personalized gifts. Rulers with their name printed on, or key rings and even personalized Beenie Babies. I would cry and yell about why i had to have a “stupid” name. There was never a Mieka on the shelf and I always missed out. Now I love that! .. I love that my name is Mieka and I love my nick name Meeks, I prefer being called by my nick name now, it sounds weird when people call me Mieka. And i also love your name, I thought that the first time i met you that I loved your name. Although, I admit I don’t love having to spell my name for people all the time.

    Like

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