What’s in a Name? (Part I: Conchita)

What’s in a name?

Well I don’t know about yours, but what’s in mine? WAY TOO MUCH is in my (given) name.

Growing up, in my family, every person and pet had AT LEAST three names. These names were invoked at different times and for varient reasons, but they were always GIVEN and EARNED. NO ONE chose their names; not their given name, nickname, alternate name, etc. A name was bestowed.

Often we have names we don’t care for, but we accept them…names are a necessary referential system of communication…But sometimes…sometimes we are given a name we simply cannot identify with, one that feels so foreign we cannot accept it.

I hate my given name.

It is interesting, it represents both mother’s and my father’s desires. But unfortunately it also represents the painfully divide between them.

My name was supposed to be: Mystery Dawn.

It was the 70’s. My mom was a hippy. No further explanation is necessary.

My father argued against this name choice. He exclaimed, “Children will make fun on her!” (because children didn’t make fun of me, ANYWAY…right…lol).

And so he suggested another more “regular” name that was also the name of my mother’s best friend and my mother added the “y” because…she had to have something from “Mystery”…or so the story goes.

Here is the problem: MY MOTHER’S BEST FRIEND, WAS MY FATHER’S LOVER. (The later, was not known until after my birth.)

So, my given name represents so much…that had nothing to do with me…and yet I bare the burden. The affair dissolved, the woman left. but, my name remains.

My (given) name = PAIN.

In my late teens I moved to NYC for college and met Gio-Shazzamity (no, that is not his given name…rather his earned name). Gio decided that I needed a new name, one that I had truly earned.

He settled on: CONCHITA

Why, you ask? Well,

  1. I have a long given name with hyphens and syllables and such, so Conchita was meant to tease me, as a play on: Maria Conchita Alonso (famous 80’s actress)
  2. Conchita is a derivation of conch, little shell…some thing cute and small…It’s also slang for vagina…which is great!
  3. Conchita is also short for: La Immaculada Concepcion, which is actually a “real” name in Italian and latin cultures, although the more common shortened form is Connie. Either way, associating me with the immaculate conception is HILARIOUS.

It’s been 20 years since I earned Conchita. Almost half of my life. And to be honest, it feels more real than my  given-name. Because it was given to me out of affection, from a person who has known me longer than any one friend. It does not represent painful memories or unsolicited guilt. It is not the name I would have  picked for myself, but the best-fitting names rarely are. Rather Conchita, is the name picked for ME…

Hello, my name…well, one of my names…is Conchita. It’s a pleasure to meet you.

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