We’re all given a name at birth, right? I (fortunately or otherwise) was given the name Staci. No, it is not short for Anastasia. And yes, it is spelled with an “i”. I did learn in a very brief InterWeb search that my name is Greek in origin and means “Resurrection” (which is awesome and makes all kinds of sense) and that its most popular year was 1973 … many, many years before my birth.
But, aside from that very strange pique in self-confidence we all get when we hear our name and that very awkward feeling we get when we have to write it on those silly stickers at an event, how much can we really identify with our name? In my opinion, it ultimately takes a back seat to all of the other labels we might be given throughout our lives.
I’m sure I don’t want to have any idea of some of the labels attached to me. I hope that most of them are positive, but I’m sure some of them aren’t. Everyone gets to have an opinion, right? But imagine if you walked around with one of those “HELLO my name is _________” stickers with a label other than your name on it … what would it be? What would you prefer your identity be associated with?
I would imagine most of us would want the approaching person to smile and say, “Ohhhh … you’re _________?!” Am I right?
There are a myriad of options, of course. All of us are someone’s child (whether by birth or otherwise); hopefully we’re fortunate enough to be someone’s sister or brother, or aunt or uncle, etc. Or, we might also prefer to be identified by our beliefs, or our work, or our hobbies. The sticker could simply read, “Christian”, or “Plumber” or “Photographer”. I can only relate to two out of three there, by the way. I guess that’s why I’m leaning towards the idea that we are allowed to choose how people identify us and I think that’s okay. It’s when we get all judgy about the labels people choose to wear that I get frustrated. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.
But I was reminded yesterday about the best label I’ve been given to-date, and the one I would choose to note on those tacky stickers. (Oh, dear reader, yes I have decided to bring this long ramble to a close.) I got a call while I was standing at my desk. I didn’t recognize the number but thought it might be a call I needed to take. I answered, “Hello, this is Staci.” (They couldn’t see my sticker.) But, to clarify further, the caller asked, “Is this Connor’s mom?” I smiled. “Yes, yes I am Connor’s mom.”
I ended the call and slowly set down my phone, still smiling. There are many things I haven’t done right in this life and there are likely many labels attached to me as a result but every time I’ve ever been referred to as “Connor’s mom” I’ve felt my self-worth rise again. Yep, I’ll proudly and unapologetically attach that label to my identity forever and ever. Amen. Well, I guess that is until Connor tells me I have to stop or the name Staci becomes popular again.
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
– Howard Thurman