What names do you call yourself? How do you feel about those names? Did you create them, or were you born into them? The names that touch me the deepest are the ones that identify my relationships with people.
I was born a daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece and cousin. I later became a friend, sister-in-law and aunt, and have, on occasion, been a girlfriend. (I have never been a wife, mother or daughter-in-law, and I will never be a grandparent) I feel a deep attachment to the names I call myself, and I am reluctant to let them go.
This week, I stopped being a niece, and I have been grieving the loss of that name along with the loss of my Uncle Joe. Growing up, my aunts, uncles and cousins were at the center of my life. They provided the framework for much of my childhood.
My aunts and uncles are all gone now, along with two of my cousins, my grandparents, dad and a couple of dear friends. I have never been good at letting go of the people I love, and the loss of my role as a niece feels like a kick to the gut. The names I call myself are slowly falling away.
This is making me think of other words that define me. I went searching for names that illustrate who I am, and so far, I have come up with observer, wordsmith, songwriter, singer, performer, connecter, helper, nurturer, illuminator, artist and friend.
What names do you call yourself?