Thursday, March 8, 2012

In a Name

A lot of thought goes into names, you know.  I think of the time we spent choosing names for the boys before they were born.  I think of the names we had chosen if we had had a little girl.  I even think of the time I spent thinking of the perfect name for my stuffies when I was a little girl.  Big decisions because once a name is chosen, it so rarely is changed.

My name has always been my name.  I can't imagine having any other name.  When Mike and I were married almost 14 years (!) ago, I chose not to change my surname for several reasons.  First, I am a feminist.  Not the man-hating type.  The type who believes in equal rights for both sexes.  I simply did not understand why I should have to change my last name.  Mike agreed.  Phew or that would not have been a good way to start off "happily ever after."  Secondly, I hate paperwork.  Do you know how many forms I would have had to fill out for something I didn't want to do in the first place?  I neatly sidestepped that little pile of bureaucracy.  (I had no idea that I couldn't spell "bureaucracy" until this very moment.)  And thirdly.  Well, the third reason is the sentimental reason.  My birth father has not been a part of my life since I was 18 months old.  Aside from my height and my freckles, my surname is kind of the only thing he gave me.  So there you go.  Why i still have the name I was born with it.

A lot of thought also went into choosing a name (On a Branch) for my soaps.  There have been times when I have regretted the name, most often when I compare myself (shameful thing to do by the way) to other soap companies whose cute, perky names bounce and roll off your tongue.  (Can something bounce and roll at the same time?)  Then I remember the moment when the name came to me.  I happened to look out the window and saw a sparrow perched in a tree and realized, as the wind blew, how tenuous his grasp seemed to me and yet, there he sat. Rooted firmly but ready to fly at any moment.  It was how I felt at that moment.  i think it is how I feel most days.


  1. "On a Branch" is the perfect tame for your naturally lovely soaps and products and I'm envious of your wonderful logo.Never regret my friend.

  2. i think you've got a great name there, although i do understand how doubts can rise up now and then. there always seems to be another 'better' idea that comes to me just after i think i've settled on one. i understand the personal name thing too - not that i have the option anyway - but if i ever got married it would be an interesting decision. with my sisters both changing their names and a cultural quirk leaving my father's siblings and offspring now with a different last name, i am the last 'pedersen' other than my mom and dad.

  3. i like that metaphor. i know that feeling too and feel it oft as well. you always share such great insight in such few words. every time i read your blog i feel i know you a little more. i am not so good at sharing much about me. i don't know how to begin.

  4. Great post Tara!! I think a name is very important and unique to who you are. My name is certainly unique and I think sets "me" apart, though I'm often asked "is it strange having a name like that?" To me the question is strange as it's the only name I've ever known. :-)

    ps...I didn't change my name either (I hate paperwork too!!)

  5. I loved this post, Tara. Names are a big deal, naming stuff is huge. I love the name of your soap - it really works. And I agree with Tierra...the bird logo is sooooo awesome.

    I never changed my last name either - for many of the reasons you mentioned. But first and foremost I figured it is the oly thing that I am born with and that I'll die with that is all my own...and I'm keeping it. :) Besides, no one can EVER say Fred's last name and who needs that hassle. Ugh...and the paperwork. No thanks. :)

  6. How do I miss posts? I love the name On a Branch. Actually, I think it rolls off the tongue nicely.
    I did change my surname, but kept my middle and maiden names too, thus two middle initials, not fun for credit card forms. Also, you're right about the paperwork in general. What I appreciate is the freedom to do what fits these days. Having the opportunity to thoughtfully make a decision is good. When I taught I had a student with a hyphenated last name including both her parents. I liked that.
    When I wrote orations in high school my first one was on shyness due to my own issue with it. I always remember one line I wrote which your post made me think of -- "Refrain from comparing yourself with others. Rather, compare yourself with who you were yesterday and the progress you've achieved." Even now I remind myself of that!

  7. Debbie's correct. I've heard Fred's last name said, and I STILL can't say it! I am going to hold on to my maiden name FOREVER too. I'm always curious how people come up with the names of their children, their blogs, their shops . . . Thanks for sharing your story. :)


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