What’s in a Name?

Embrace those things that make you who you are


My name is Myrtis.  Pronounced like Curtis but with an M.

I wish I had thought of that clever way to explain its pronunciation when I was younger, because I spent my entire childhood listening to people butcher my name.  Meeertis, My-tris, Mur-tah and my favorite Midas…as if I could turn things into gold.

And those were the teachers.  Let’s not forget all of the “cool” nicknames my so-called friends came up with.  Myrtle the Turtle.  Mortis the Tortise.  Myrt-Myrt.  I really hated Myrt-Myrt, sounds like a name for a rejected Sesame Street Character.

I have always hated my name and I swore, when I turned 18, I was going to change it to something cool.  Then a funny thing happened as I became an adult, people started complimenting me on my name.  My name went from being ugly to unique.  I no longer got a snarky “What kind of name is that?”  Instead more people started saying “That’s pretty, I’ve never heard that before.”

I still don’t like my name, but I could never change it.  It has become a part of who I am.  It is integral into my identity.  My personality is just as unique and odd as my name.  My mother obviously loved my name — she thought it was beautiful.  Once she was gone it’s like my name was a little gift from her.  So, I’ve made peace with it.  Along the way I’ve learned little things like how to have a beautiful signature and how to teach other people how to pronounce it.

We all have luggage from our childhood.  For most of us, it is heavier stuff than just a name we didn’t like or endless memories of being teased.  It is easy to carry that luggage with you all time, dwell on it and let it make you bitter or sensitive about a certain subject.  The healthier option, however, is to deal with it.  Maybe you enlist the help of a counselor, friend, or minister. We are at the beginning of the prime of our lives, don’t jeopardize it by holding on to the past.

“When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”Alexander Graham Bell

Written by Myrtis Smith

African American. Female. Christian. Sometimes-Vegetarian.

Wife. Mother. Daughter. Sister. Friend.

Writer. Teacher. Zumba Enthusiast.