When I was younger, I used to scoff at Miley Cyrus for not using her birth name. “That’s not even her real name,” I used to say, wondering “what kind of name is Miley anyway?” I was a hater, I’ll admit it. I’ll also admit that “Miley Ray” sort of rolls off the tongue better than “Destiny Hope” but…who really cares anyway? If girl wants to own a different name than the one that was given to her, so be it. If she wants to use her legal name, so be it. If another girl wants to add a $ to her stage name, so be it.
When babies are in the womb, the first question most people ask are “have you thought of any names yet?” Teenagers might read a book and think “Hmm…you know I’d change my name to Renesmee*”. Adults look at a child and say, “She definitely acts like a Hannah.” Supposedly, a name defines who you are and adds meaning to your life. We applaud when we hear classic names like “Reginald” being called but side-eye the mom who dares name her kid something like “North” or “Chickpea”.
And what about the people who choose their own names? People like Miley. Or people who change their names regularly like Snoop….what is it now? Lion? Zilla? Is there a limit to the amount of aliases we take? And what about those who change only their last names like Katy Hudson (aka “Perry”).
Our names are gifts given to us – maybe inspired by God or maybe inspired by Jersey Shore. However, for many working individuals, it’s also a brand. It’s marketing. It’s a persona you take on whenever you meet people. For some reason, though, when a person is smaller and not so famous it’s big enough of a deal that someone’s going to mock it. On a small island like mine, it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for me to hear, “Oh that’s not even his real name. It’s actually Vincent.” Apparently, it’s just so ridiculous when someone decides to use a name other than the one s/he was born with.
Maybe it is. Maybe it’s blasphemous. Maybe it’s a sign of disrespect to those who gave us our names.
Ruzelle Almonds is not my legal name. It’s the one on my business license but not on my driver’s license. As you might guess, it’s been met with some back lash because it’s “childish” or “sounds dumb” or “where does that name even come from”. It doesn’t matter that this name has meaning, history and value to me. I’ve had people tell me they won’t use my business name and insist on using my legal one. I’ve had family members ask about it because am I “not proud of where I came from?”
Honestly, it’s not that serious. It’s not even so serious that I have to write about it. But I AM writing about it because my domain name is changing. Don’t panic. It means nothing other than the fact that I can no longer be defined by the prefix “miss”.
But if I decided to rebrand myself Sparkles McRainbowPants** would it matter? Probably… now that I see it typed out, but the point is that it shouldn’t matter what I ask you to call me. I’m still working hard, either way.
A Ruzelle by any other name is still as awesome.
Catch this Ruzelle at http://www.mizzalmonds.com (aka right here).
* Maybe don’t? Or do. Whatever.
** Weird cartoon character or bad stripper name?