The Names I Call Myself

IMG_20171127_184131893I’m a little under the weather today so I’m having a lazy day. And a lazy day at the end of November can mean only one thing – a Hallmark Christmas movie.

At the risk of spoiling what is a riveting, nail biting film, this one is about a fledgling writer at a writer’s convention. Of course, the movie has a meet cute, a budding romance briefly derailed, a plot twist that no one but the characters couldn’t see coming, and the requisite happy ending.

In the movie, the writer struggles with calling herself a writer. She feels as if she has to earn the title. I know that struggle well. Sitting in my favorite chair thinking about the character’s, and my own, struggle, I came to a realization. I may have a given name, but I go by many, many other names.

  • Shannon – This is the name I was born with and the one most people know me by.
  • Daughter – I’m the first born in my family and the only daughter. My parents had no idea what they unleashed upon the world the day I was born.
  • Sister – I have one little brother. He’s called me many names over the years, but this is the one fit for polite company.
  • Brown – 25 years ago I took on this name and I have never regretted it. At times, I have done the name proud; at others, not so much. But Mr. Brown is stuck with me either way.
  • Mom – I remember the day my daughter was born my mom leaned over and whispered into my ear, “Now you know how much I love you.” She was right. It was in that moment that I finally understood how much a mother loves her children. The birth of my son two years later taught me that the addition of each child increases your capacity to love exponentially.
  • Shay – Those closest to me call me by this name. It’s been my nickname since I was young. I gave it to myself because it seemed like everyone else I knew had one and I was jealous. My parents obliged my little bit of insanity and the name stuck. (It’s definitely better than the long names I used to give myself. I have several books from my childhood inscribed with extended monikers. The silliest of which includes Dorothy, Cinderella and Rapunzel. All in one inscription.)
  • Miss Shannon – I have loved and cared for many children over the years. Some are the children of my friends, some came to me for after school care, some are kids I met at church, and some are friends of my children. I’ve never been one for formality, so I happily embraced this distinctly Southern way to show respect to an elder.
  • Auntie Shay Shay – This one is a little more recent. It was given to me by a dear friend when her youngest was born and it’s kind of stuck. The little ones in my life tend to call me this.
  • Friend – I am blessed beyond measure in the friendship realm. I only hope that I can be half as good at being a friend to others as my friends are to me.
  • Counselor – Much to my bewilderment, and at their own risk, people seek out my counsel. Considering my sanity is frequently questioned, this one never ceases to amuse me.
  • Crazy Lady – See above and ask Mr. Brown about my bad days if you need more explanation.
  • Writer – I’m still not convinced this one fits, but seeing as I’ve begun to spend a fair amount of my time writing these days, I guess it’s time. I hope someday to upgrade to Author, but until then, I’ll settle for writer.
  • Redeemed – I have done nothing to deserve redemption, yet it was freely given. As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, I am proud to claim this title.

I’ve come to understand that this list of names is incomplete. And as long as I live, it will remain so. As new challenges arise, I’ll earn new names. But for today, I’m happy with my list.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I hear my chair, my dog, my blanket, a cup of tea and another movie calling me…

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