Names

I guess names are a top­ic of inter­est to many of us, huh? I’m yet anoth­er whose reply got too long for a com­ment in ‘song’s LJ, so I’m writ­ing it here.


I had a broth­er, Will, who died short­ly before I was born. He was, even at 2 1/2 years old, a very strong-willed, opin­ion­at­ed per­son (yes, it does run in the fam­i­ly). He had insist­ed that he was hav­ing a sis­ter, and that her name was Cindy. He’d had a friend named Cindy who lived a cou­ple of doors down, but her fam­i­ly had moved away, and I guess he liked the name.

My par­ents expect­ed a boy to “replace” Will. They’d cho­sen the name Matthew Scott. The nurs­ery was all blue. All cloth­ing and toys were for boys. Noth­ing green or yellow—certainly not pink!—to be found.

So there I was, female. Not what was ordered. And they had­n’t thought about female names at all. Despite the fact that I was born with a full head of near­ly black hair, one of my aunts was deter­mined that I should be named Gold­en Estelle for my moth­er’s pater­nal grand­moth­er. For­tu­nate­ly, some­one remem­bered Will’s insis­tence that my name was Cindy. So I became Cyn­thia Lynn. Lynn is my moth­er’s mid­dle name, but I can’t real­ly say that I was named for her as much as that “Lynn” is one of those place­hold­er mid­dle names (with Ann and Sue and Jo and Mae) that is sim­ply tacked on to many south­ern girls’ names.

I find it cool that my name and my moth­er’s name (Dian­na) both refer to moon god­dess­es, but my par­ents cer­tain­ly weren’t think­ing in those terms.

I don’t like Cindy. I’ve always hat­ed that name, for some rea­son. I’ve nev­er felt like a Cindy. I haven’t looked like a Cindy since I was about 3–4 years old. Cindy is a perky cheer­lead­er’s name, some­thing that goes with pom-poms and pep ral­lies and such. It cer­tain­ly does­n’t suit the intro­vert I’ve been since I was about four, or the book­ish per­son I became as soon as I learned to read.

I’m not wild about Cyn­thia, but it’s far bet­ter than Cindy. I start­ed using Cyn­thia when I was 17 and work­ing full-time for the sum­mer. I con­tin­ued using it when I got my first “real” full-time job the next spring. I’ve used it ever since.

My fam­i­ly, despite know­ing how much I hate to be called Cindy, refuse to con­sid­er call­ing me any­thing else. I won’t answer to it from any­one else, and in fact, I’ll either ignore or acer­bical­ly cor­rect any­one else who uses that name to refer to me. I think it’s extreme­ly rude to go short­en­ing peo­ple’s names willy-nil­ly into diminu­tive forms.

When I real­ly start­ed using AOL, I did­n’t want a screen name with num­bers in it. There was a ten-char­ac­ter lim­it back then, so I end­ed up being Cyn­thia­Lyn. Friends short­ened that to Cyn or Cyn­Lyn, and I end­ed up using Cyn to sign email and such—still do it, in fact.

Back in 1995, I start­ed work­ing in the tech sup­port depart­ment at Mind­Spring. They were still in the Geor­gia Tech Advanced Tech­nol­o­gy Devel­op­ment Cen­ter (ATDC) then, a very small com­pa­ny. And every­body had busi­ness cards (I still don’t know why), even sup­port techs. Some peo­ple chose the title on the card, and some peo­ple were hand­ed a card that some­one else had spec­i­fied. My first super­vi­sor, Trevor’s, title was Chief Tilter at Wind­mills. I was the old­est per­son in our depart­ment (at, hmm, 28?) and the only one with, appar­ent­ly, much pri­or work expe­ri­ence (par­tic­u­lar­ly any admin­is­tra­tive expe­ri­ence). Things like “Gosh, we should sched­ule din­ner breaks so that 1) every­body on the shift gets one and 2) peo­ple aren’t all leav­ing at once” had­n’t real­ly been con­sid­ered. I was also, I think, the only par­ent in the depart­ment. So I became Tech­noMom. It’s the title they put on my busi­ness cards, and it’s the name I’ve used online ever since.

I feel zero con­nec­tion to the last name on my birth cer­tifi­cate, the one I use now, or any of those I’ve tak­en when I got mar­ried. They’ve nev­er been mine. I don’t like them at all. I use my sec­ond hus­band’s last name because it is Katie’s last name.

Katie’s name was an uneasy com­pro­mise between me and her father and I’ve nev­er been whol­ly hap­py with it, though a lot of thought went into it. I don’t think she is either.

Cur­rent Mood: 🤔con­tem­pla­tive
Cur­rent Music: Heather Alexan­der — “Gyp­sy’s Fire”
Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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