2020: What’s in a Name?

A Self-Portrait in Parque Retiro, Madrid.

“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare once said, or at least one of his characters said. The name Susanna has been used for more than thirty years of my life. I’ve taken pride in it now, especially since I own my own blog with my full name.

However, back when I was in fifth grade, I hated the name. Not only did my grandpa sing the classic song: “Oh, Susanna…. don’t you cry for me…”, classmates of mine sang that song out loud as well. It definitely made the song pretty irritating, like someone scratching her nails on a chalkboard.

One day, I remember complaining to my mom about it. “Mom, why’d you give me the name Susanna. Why not Susan or something else?”

“Oh, honey, Susanna is a beautiful name. It’s a name used in the Bible.”

I was infuriated and frustrated then, like I couldn’t get the toy that I wanted. Yet at that time, I couldn’t really argue with her because it was true. I’ve read that story before. It’s actually in the Book of Susanna. And it’s usually linked to the Book of Daniel, the prophet – also the same name of my younger brothers. Our mom gave us Biblical names not only because she prayed numerous times in the day and often went to Mass and church, but also hopefully she wanted us to become more faithful to God.

Yet, thinking about that Biblical story today, I don’t know if it would have been appropriate for a kid to tell people that the name Susanna originated from a woman accused of adultery and nearly condemned to death.

As a fifth grader, I began signing my name as Susan. I couldn’t stand having been associated with my birth name. So, all through that grade year, I signed all my test names with Susan. And when graduation came, I even had my diploma written with the name Susan.

Yet, once sixth grade came along and I moved to a new school, I just used my complete name. There was no use in changing it. I would have had to wait until I was eighteen to have a say with my name. And so I just accepted it and just dealt with it.

Thus over the years as I grew more self-confident, I managed to grow out of that stage and learned to embrace my name. Today, it has become my identity and I see the beauty behind the name.

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