Finding a middle name
Finding my first name was easy: it popped into my head suddenly and I simply knew that it fit. My middle name won’t be so important, so I can relax and think about what it will mean to me: do I want it to have a symbolic meaning, honor someone I admire, or be original?
I thought of using something rare because my first and last names are pretty common — there are two people at my school with my same full name. I considered a couple of non-Spanish names, but using something non-European seems like cultural appropriation, and using something from the elsewhere in Europe –especially something in English– seems like selling out to cultural imperialism (although, of course, Spaniards came to this land through colonialism). I want to read more about these issues, but in the meantime, I think I’ll stick to Hispanic names. At least they feel more familiar.
I also thought of using my old name as a middle name, but right now, it’s hard for me to even hear it. Sometimes, when I stumble over it unexpectedly, I feel a little confused — is that really my ID? Both reactions –rejection and detachment– aren’t exactly positive, so I can rule out that option. Actually, I don’t even know if it’s legal for a guy to have a girl name: the Argentinian naming law forbids any names that cause confusion about a person’s sex (it also forbids “extravagant”, “ridiculous” or hard-to-pronounce names, which sounds rather imprecise). There are traditional exceptions, such as María José for a girl and José María for a boy. In any case, right now, it’s impossible for me to get a name or gender change on my ID for legal reasons that I’ll explain in a future post.
My best choice is my dad’s middle name. I love it for several reasons: it’s a way to pay tribute to my father, I like how it sounds, and I like its initial — it fits well into the rest of my name. Plus, I identify strongly with it, and its meaning seems appropriate: “new house”. My first name, by the way, means “free” — interpreting broadly, I’d be free to find my place in the world.
Those meanings aren’t uber-important to me; it’s nice to know that my name doesn’t mean “cranky”, but that doesn’t have much weight in daily life. People are more likely to associate other people with their namesakes rather than with their name’s origin. For instance, the name Eva, to most Argentinians, would evoke Eva Perón rather than Adam and Eve. None of my names has such a strong association, which is fine by me — it could become an onerous burden. And I want to be “free to find my own place in the world”, don’t I?
For now, at least, I’m enjoying the freedom to try on different middle names.