So I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Which might come as a massive surprise to many of you, given my love for endless ellipses… terrible (parentheticals) and Capitalization…and of course, my love for …the ALOT. Pretty much; I know the grammar rules–I just choose not to follow them. Which is some psychological babble about being an only child-people-pleaser and now I don’t gotta do it–I do what I want! So there. (Enter law school, and things really get messed up. ALOT of issues there. (Lucky for me, blogs can do whatever.))
I do remember from my final semester in undergrad, when I arranged my schedule so that I only attended classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which left me Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday to do nothing (except prepare like a madwoman for those classes)… it was an insane semester. (Did I mention that I totally love ridiculous run-on sentences. Yesssss.)
Anyway, I took an African American literature class during that semester, which was one of the best classes I ever attended. The literature was amazing, and because the class was about 90% African American, mostly women and taught by a black male—- I received such an incredible perspective from that class. I loved seeing not only the views from my classmates, but reading literature and learning how the literature I had read so many times… meant something so different to each student.
A big theme in African American literature is “naming” – the importance of a name. The importance of someone (wanted or unwanted) GIVING you a name. The devastation of an unwanted name, a hateful name. And while yes, name calling is obviously something awful (duh)—the overall theme was focused on the actual name given to a person. For example, I am “Meredith.” My name. Which means “Guardian of the Sea” — a little strange, but we can roll with guarding the sea. Because that’s a powerful thing to do, eh?
Anyway, in the horrific times of slavery, naming was even more significant—names were given to babies, to women—without consent, without love, without family history.
Just a name…
But it’s never just a name.
(Whew Swim Bike Mom, yer making me nervous! )
Okay, so I am off on a bit of a rabbit trail—but my point—the takeaway from that amazing class is that you should never:
1) Name call (seems so simple, but still);
2) Underestimate the power of a name; or
3) Use a position of power (whether real, perceived or otherwise) to name someone else. (And yes, my position of power is giving people nicknames… Yoda, the Expert, Sweet Red, the Weatherman, Coach Monster—-all names of extreme respect and importance, I might add! I love these people, and I name them. Uh-oh. I’m a namer. Eeeek. Note to self: re-evaluate.)
Okay. Lawdy, this post is turning in to something bigger than the original point… which is: I named my new bike... Golly, I have so many issues.
Sigh—okay. Bike name… but wait, now I feel like I must continue…. I will get back to the bike name in a second.
Naming. A name.
How many times do we allow someone to NAME us? How often do we NAME someone else?
Fat. Lazy. Useless. Dumb. Worthless. Slow.
How often do we NAME ourselves?
A disappointment. A waste. Loser. Slacker. Failure. Ugly. Sorry. Dumb. Mean. Disgusting. Tired.
For a while now, I have not let anyone NAME me. It has taken a long time for me to grow past this. I am Meredith- you know, just hangin out and guarding the sea, apparently (which is funny, because I am such a water creature!)
But. I am now also Swim Bike Mom—-a crazy NAME I have chosen for myself.
On this day, I challenge you to pick your name. Who ARE you? And read this post as long as you aren’t offended by the “f” word. Who are you? Say it out loud!
I am Princess Twilight Sparkles! (Just kidding. I am not that chipper.)
So what is YOUR name? Even if you aren’t that person now—pick the name that represents who you WILL be. Who you want to be. Your real, real name.
I was going to name my bike after the Expert. But for reasons such as ease of reference and the fact that the bike was clearly a girl bike and the creeper factor, I did not. “Today, I rode the Expert…” It really just didn’t work. (Get your minds out of the gutter, people.)
And with that long, rambling, turn-of-phrase, grammatical disaster of a post… I present to you…
Indeed. Also, known as a female version of the masculine “Andy,” but not to be separated too distantly from the fabulously awkward (a likely Swim Bike Klutz-type) heroine in the perfect classic, Pretty in Pink— part obsession for my red hair in high school, coupled with Claire Danes in My So-Called Life and believing that Jordan Catalano really was my boyfriend.
Andie. A perfect strong and feminine pink name. But hard and tough too. Finally, yes.
Andie. But also a nod to my favorite triathlete, Andy Potts…. who was my favorite before meeting him…but after meeting him, knowing what a wonderful ambassador for the sport he truly is—I just could not think of any other name for this fast, tri-happy, ambassador of a beauty.
The importance of a name. Sigh. Boy, can I digress.
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