This challenge is all about the power of names.
I should have been a Christopher I was told. A first born son. Instead a girl, and then another one, a boy and then unexpectedly another girl. The eldest of four. But not the eldest son.
Susan Barbara were the names I was given. Not called after anyone, just names my parents liked, when they realised as I was born that Christopher, the selected name, wasn’t going to work. Thankfully not called after my father’s mother who, given the woman she was, went by the surprising name of Patience. I wonder what age she was when her parents realised the inappropriateness of that name. Many virtues she had – boldness, energy, optimism, generosity, vision, determination but patience was in very short supply. She was in a perpetual hurry to get launched into her next adventure.
Susan Barbara. Nothing much to either like or not like about those names. Deliberately chosen by a mother who had changed her name by deed poll to Lydia when she was legally able to do so. So much did she hate the one she was given. She thought I’d be ok with Susan Barbara. And she was right. No teasing.
So Susan or Sue I was through childhood and adolescence, Susan when either parent was displeased, otherwise mostly Sue. And so it went. All fine. I was a quiet shy girl with a quiet shy name and all was as it should be.
Some years later on my first day at University in student rooms on campus, I came across someone looking as lost as me. I’m Brian, the too keen young man in jeans with ironed creases down the front (unforgivable it seemed to me). I’m Susi I replied. It was all quite unexpected. The confident assertion that I was a Susi. Not Susie, but Susi. A stand perhaps against the perfectly fine but predictable safe Susan and Sue. A new life, a new name, impatiently ready, like my grandmother, for my adventures to start.