what’s in a name? that which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet
shakespeare’s romeo and juliet , 1594
at least three times i day i spell out my name. the conversation always goes something like this:
sorry, say that again…goal whaah?
gol-riz. i know…it’s unusual. i’ll spell it for you. Gee Oh eL Rrr I Zed
oops, i mean zee.
yep, zee as in zebra
long pause. your name is gooorize?
close, but more like goal-reeez
um, not quite. there is no ‘d’. it doesn’t reallly matter. i mean i don’t even know that i say it right.
okay…pause…gloria. It’s kinda like gloria isn’t it?
not really. no. but that’s fine.
the other day i got a piece of mail addressed to Gold Reeves. Someone actually wrote “Dear Marabeth, Leigh and Gold Reeves”.
lately names, or more accurately my name has been on my mind a lot. it’s interesting to me the ideas we carry around regarding our names. the interesting relationship we have with them…they are picked for us without our consent and then we live with them or not. sometimes modifying or choosing a nickname or changing the spelling…but our name is part of our identity. my name is…
and there is a reaction that follows. with my name it’s either ‘sorry, can you please repeat that?’, ‘what does it mean?’, ‘where does it come from?’, and almost always – ‘i’ve never met a golriz’ – to which i respond ‘neither have i’.
i was not able to spell my last name (khozouei) until i was about 6 years old. i would always mess up the order of the last few letters. my claim to fame was that my last name had every vowel except for ‘a’. but it was a mouthful. whenever roll call was read out i knew when my name had come up because there would inevtiably be a long pause. and then the poor teacher would try their best to sound out the odd combination of letters…
soon, my last name will be changing and i’ve decided i’m going to choose my own last name. i know that this may seem a little bit radical. actually, i didn’t think it was such a big deal until started talking to people about my idea. the mix of reactions was surprising…who knew that it would result in such consternation? it isn’t as if i’m going to change my name to a symbol or anything – don’t tempt me.
i decided that since my iranian heritage is covered by golriz, i’d like to choose a name that reflects my armenian background. i did some research and i found a name i love. i love the sound of it. i love the meaning. and i really like the idea that it will be my choice. a last name i’ve chosen for me. i’ll share it soon. stay tuned.