This I Believe – What’s in a Name?
My name is Polly. I do not know what your first reaction to that name is, but I have an idea. Most people either think of a parrot, or one of two different dolls. I would just like to say that I only ever had one Polly Pocket toy set, and I am fairly certain it was given to me. I have always made a point by not surrounding myself with “Polly” dolls; it would just be weird. Furthermore I have never been a big fan of crackers, and I am terrified of birds. Whenever someone mocked my name when I was younger, I would get upset.
There are only so many times you can hear “Polly want a cracker?” before it starts to really bug you. As a result by the time I was in the first grade I was already loathing people who made fun of my name. There was one kid in my school, who was a lot older than me, but I saw him a lot in the halls anyway. Whenever he saw me he made some kind of joke about my name. This went on for months, him taunting me, which he was just doing teasingly, and me threatening him if he did not stop, not jokingly. My friends and I were fairly vicious for first graders. When this kid’s mocking my name finally went too far, I started to chase him in the halls. For some reason this kid actually ran away from me, even though he was easily double my size, and could have simply stopped me from even touching him. After that the kid really never teased me again.
I have mellowed out a lot over the past few years, especially with people who ridicule my name. Even so, I still do not tolerate my name being laughed at. To this day when ever anyone mocks my name I give them a warning. I no longer viciously threaten people, but I do caution them. Every time someone mocks my name I simply tell them that they have three chances until I get angry at them. I would not get extremely angry, especially if they were one of my friends. If over the course of a year or more a friend made fun of my name three times I would not care. However last year there was a kid in my class who mocked my name every time he saw me. I did eventually end up chasing after him, but just in a “shifting between desks for a minute or two before class starts” way. Some people hate their name, and some love their name. For me it does not matter whether or not I love my name. All that matters is that people respect me and my name.
What is in a name? For me it is pride. I feel that in a name you see what the parents value and who they admired or respected. In how a person treats their name you get an idea of how a person thinks of themselves. With my name I demand respect. I do not want people to make fun of me and so I do not let people make fun of my name. I think of my name as special and unique, not weird and different. As a result, I carry myself with more esteem. If I let people joke about my name then they would think I had a low self value and that I would be an easy target for jokes. I use my name to prove a point and show confidence in myself.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.