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.