Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place.

~ Mark Twain ~

Daisys and Tulips

March 31st, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 1 min, 59 secs

Make way for the Daisys and Tulips, and Sandras!

Daisys and Tulips make me look twice. Not because they’re so lovely (like the flowers they’ve been named after), but because everyone with a distinctive name has an important story.

I know I’m treading on thin ice here when I mention the uniqueness (some say “strangeness”) of names. But they do make a difference. I mean, call a baby Jane and you set her on that path for life. Call her Petal and she goes a completely different way. Daisys and Tulips all know: what you get called decides where you go.

Teachers, especially, tune in to this curious phenomenon. Call a lass Misty and she is hardly likely to become a Chief Justice or Supreme Court Judge. Not that she couldn’t of course. Just that, somehow, words (and especially names) shape things in our mind. Petals, Daisys, and Tulips, for example, have been given a gentle image of floral beauty. They’re lovely. But meanings come with associations.

Take Lady Gaga for instance. Ditching her real name of Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, she picked something allowing her to be gaudy, crazy, and outrageous for the media. Had she chosen sweet Daisy or tasteful Tulip, her act would also have had to dramatically change. But Stefani knew the meanings she needed for her musical persona had to be “out there.” So in every detail, she made it her business to milk meaning to the hilt.

I’m not suggesting we change our name if it doesn’t suit our job or the latest craze. Far from it. I love the way film star, Sandra Bullock, fought the PR people to keep her individuality. What she does works, because she knows who she is. Which is what all the Daisys and Tulips of this world need to do too.

By celebrating our true self we can make our name fit us. So that Christian needn’t mean I should be a minister or priest. Or, Tulip doesn’t have to be a bulb grower or florist. The more you make sense of who you are and what your personal strengths can offer, the less the meanings of others determine your destiny.

Personally, I think it’s high time we had some Daisys and Tulips heading the Supreme Court, and in more jobs of responsibility. Come to think of it, a few really determined people called Stefani, Joanne, and Angelina would be great in the media spotlight too. Real people. Strong people, prepared to own their genuine identity, doing whatever they choose, without having to ditch the delicacy of gentle names. We can all, Daisys and Tulips included, lift our ambitions. But first, each of us needs to keep stepping out from our given identity and find our own story. Though it takes upfront courage at least we don’t need to go gaga to do it.




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