16.3.10

What is in a Name

{ What's In a Name }

me little and big

Recently I have been trying and trying to come up with a new name for my business. I've tried a million different names and nothing has stuck. I've been asking friends and indie business buddies and the general consensus is always, "we like your real name better." You know, I kind of like my real name the best too. And I will tell you why with this elaborate true tale as to how I got the name Moorea...

Before my birth, my mom chose a name for me that she thought was unique. Sad to say, this name was in the top 5 most popular names for my birth year. Woops. The name is Ashley. Now, I know plenty of nice Ashleys, but I also have known even more not nice Ashleys, and either way, I have never wanted to be lumped in with the millions of Ashleys my age.

My dislike of my own name began at a very early age. My parents decided to move to England from the U.S. when I was 2. And in England, Ashley is most commonly a boys name. I am not a boy. Therefore, I felt a little out of place in the name category. I specifically remember one of the boys my age, in my village of 300, whose name was Ashley. He looked like a monkey. For reals.
From as far back as I can remember, I always hated my name. Poor mom, she really thought the name was so creative. But man, it never suited me. I remember being 6 years old and having to go into the hospital because my tonsillitis was absolutely awful and I needed to get them out asap. When I was registered in the hospital, the nurses presumed I was a boy because of my name and I had to spend a day in the boys section. This is where I learned what a bed pan was.

When we moved back to the U.S. when I was 8, I discovered that not only was Ashley a common name for kids my age, like in England, but in America there was a stereotype that accompanied the name too. Have you ever seen the cartoon Recess? Remember the troop of mean girl Ashleys whose token saying was, "scandalooous!" Yes, I didn't particularly relate to those characters. But I loved tomboy Spinelli who had a secret talent for art. And guess what her real name was...hint, she hated it as much as I hated mine. Yes, her real name was Ashley but she didn't want anyone to know.

For me, what solidified the fact that I just couldn't be called Ashley any longer was when I took a tennis class and there were 3 other Ashleys out of ten kids, and they all acted like the Ashleys in Recess. I told my dad I just HAD to change my name, where upon he mentioned the names he was thinking of naming my new baby sister.
He pulled out a book from his fancy chest of draws in the drawing room and showed it to me. It was a book about the Tahitian island of Moorea. My dad said, "We are thinking of naming your new baby sister Isabella Moorea." And I said, "Ah! Thats my name! Please can I be called Moorea?" (I had just turned 9 at the time) My dad said, "Well, if you can get everyone at school this fall to call you Moorea, including your teachers, then you can be called Moorea." I said ok and the discussion was done.

That fall I had an incredible teacher who was probably the only teacher at my Catholic school who I connected with. She had a tattoo on her ankle that matched the tattoo on the back of her sister's neck. She loved art, especially from Latin American. She constantly encouraged me in my art and in my pursuit to open up the Moorea in me. On the first day of 4th grade, my teacher brought shy little Ashley to the front of the class and said, "Ashley has decided to change her name to Moorea, so from now on, everyone will call her Moorea." She went into her attendance book and changed my name from Ashley to Moorea, and from then on, everyone at my school called me Moorea, (except for the scary PE teacher who would yell in her most butch voice, "ASH!") When my dad got my report card back that fall and saw that Moorea had replaced Ashley in the Name __________ section, he said, "Alright. It appears to be that you are Moorea now."

My littlest sister has never even known me as Ashley. In my family's house we call it "the A word." And most of my friends in high school and and a lot of friends in college didn't even know that my birth name was Ashley. Though I have plenty of memories before the age of 9, I don't remember being Ashley, feeling like I was Ashley, or saying I was Ashley. I have always been Moorea, it just took awhile for my name to find me. We are very close now, the best of friends. And I guess it only makes sense to keep my favorite name as the title of my business. :)

21 comments:

Amy T Schubert said...

ESPECIALLY because of this story - your business should be the name that you've chosen.
Love it.
Also, did you legally change your name or not yet or not planning to?

LD said...

Sigh. What a lovely story. Your business should DEFINITELY fall in line with a name like Moorea. My mom was going to name me Dawn Renee, until my aunt Pat named her new daughter, born months before me, Dawn Renee--without knowing of my mom's plans! Just as well - Laurel suits me far better.

Laura said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
konner said...

Do you remember the episode where Spinelli had to go to ballet class?! Ahhh. That was a good one.

I have to know... what did Bella's middle name end up being?

Roxanne said...

This made me smile so much. I'm so happy you found a name you love.

Megan V said...

Wow. That was such an amazing story!!!! Seriously... just awesome. And I love the name you decided upon - at 9 years old!!

Kyla Roma said...

YOU NAMED YOURSELF?!

How is it that you just keep getting more and more amazing every time I get another peek into your life? =)

awmb said...

This is the coolest fact I have found out about you. I totally agree with Kyla on this one. Every time we get another glorious tidbit, it's even better than the last.

Chelsea said...

this is such a nice story!

Rebecca said...

I laughed out loud at the bit about ashley the monkey, he truly did didn't he?! its so much funnier when you know him! sweets you just brightened my day, thank you!

Sadie said...

What an awesome story! I do love your name!

So glad I found your blog. :)

mel said...

wow what a great story!
you chose a beautiful name!
do you know if it has a meaning in its original language?
i'd say keep it as your business name for sure :)

jason said...

I like this story. Your dad sounds really cool.

The Procrastination Princess aka Katie said...

I love the idea of a shy little 9 year old girl demanding that her name be changed! It's perfect in so many ways. How great are your parents for supporting you, and what a blessing that your teacher was so creative and accepting too! It's scary to think what would have happened if you didn't have supportive people around you, like so many unfortunate kids these days.

A friend of my mother has 3 girls and a boy. When they were younger, I remember watching one of them draw. I think she was drawing a picture of a sun, and for whatever reason, she had decided to draw it in purple. Their mother looked at the page in disgust, told her the sun was not purple, and that she had drawn it incorrectly. She the proceeded to draw a circle with rays coming out of it as an example of the "correct" way to draw a sun. And it was yellow, of course.

Unfortunately, their mother is clearly not a creative spirit, and I know for a fact that if they wanted to change their name for example, they would be ridiculed. The fact that they weren't even allowed to be expressive in their drawing, makes me sad to this day.

Thanks for sharing your story!
~ Katie

Holly said...

Awesome story! I have been to Moorea in Tahiti and it's amazing! :)

MaieDae said...

I know this was posted last year but I LOVE this post. You are so inspiring Moorea and I love the name you picked for yourself. :)

erin said...

Amazing story :)

grace said...

this is an awesome story, really. the fact that you named yourself at age nine is pretty amazing! :)

Anna said...

I'm impressed that you were so self aware at age 9. My mom changed her name when she was 26 (after moving states) and she has many friends who don't even know her "old" name.

Anonymous said...

This is awesome! My friend posted your website on my Facebook wall to show me because my name is Moorea and I was named after the island! Good pick :) my email is moorea.crippen@gmail.com

Lost Cabin Vintage said...

This is one of the most amazing stories I have ever heard! I love it!
Toni xo