I have been thinking about my name all week. Yes, I suppose that is a little weird, but I think it makes sense given that I quite enjoy words and words mean a lot to me. Words are powerful. They have weight and memory. I tend to savour words that are given to me, whether they are spoken or written. If you have ever written me a heartfelt note or card, I can almost guarantee that it has been read a dozen or more times and is tucked away to be enjoyed another day. Perhaps that is why I enjoy keeping a journal and a blog, because I see the value in the words, even if they are important to nobody but myself. And, in that light, it makes perfect sense that I should be thinking about my name this week.
Last Sunday I was at a workshop put on by my chiropractor. It was a good workshop and many details have been cemented in my memory; however, one detail that has been replaying in my mind is the fact that my chiropractor called me “Ang”. The workshop was laid-back and interactive. My chiropractor knew many, if not all, of the people in attendance and would often use the name of the person he was talking to or about. Somehow, and I’m really not sure how or why, my chiropractor said my name an awful lot!
“I know Ang has read this book.”
“What’s it like at your house, Ang?”
“I’ve seen Ang wear a lot of ‘deadlifts & doughnuts’ shirts.”
And so on.
At first I kept thinking about it, because it is very odd that I am pointed out that frequently in a group setting like that. For one thing, I am not the sort of person to put myself forward for all that attention. But then I started thinking about the fact that Ben called me “Ang” as if it were the most natural thing in the world, which got me thinking about why I feel all warm and fuzzy inside when people call me “Ang”.
When I need to introduce myself, I always use my proper name…Angela. (I don’t even write “Ang” very often when sending out cards or letters!) It’s my name. It’s relatively easy to understand. It is the gateway to knowing me. A good number of people will always call me Angela, and that is perfectly acceptable. I do respond to people who say my name, although I might have trouble hearing you if I am in the middle of a good book. However, when someone calls me Ang, it feels like they have crossed over into my inner sanctum and claimed a piece of my heart. If you call me Ang, I feel like you know the real me, even if you don’t know me very well yet. Calling me Ang shows that you understand me, at least enough to feel out my preference, because I do prefer Ang although I won’t go out of my way to correct someone who calls me Angela. I am easy-going that way. About the only time my feathers get ruffled over my name, in any variation, is when someone says it with fake friendliness, and there are very few instances of that, thankfully!
I suppose I use my proper name kind of like a buffer, a separating line between surface relationships and the relationships that are of great value to me. It’s kind of like knowing the secret password to an exclusive club, except that I don’t necessarily go around giving out the password. If I introduce myself as Angela, how does someone get to the point of knowing that Ang is really who I am? This has been the question swirling in my head all week. I’m not really sure what the answer is. Maybe it is just a matter of getting to know me and letting what feels natural flow out. I don’t know and it probably doesn’t even matter. Just know that if you call me Ang, we’re friends for life!