Names and Taking Up Space

Several years ago, I was in grad school and working two jobs, and at one there was a Kate Bowers and the other a Katherine Dower-Something. It was then I started to use Katherine Grimm Bowers professionally, and when I found myself listed under “Grimm Bowers” and not “Bowers” at a conference, I thought, hey, I like the sound of that.

I was 22 when I got married and had no compelling reason not to change my name, but it’s never sat all that well with me, even nine years in, especially when I get the whole “Mrs John Bowers” treatment. (Um, what? Have I been subsumed?)

And yet I still feel a little persnickety using both. I don’t actually care much if you use the Grimm in addressing me, but I still feel kind of bossy to work it in there. A friend who uses her first and middle name (without a hyphen) says she feels the same way sometimes.

But seriously, how is this high maintenance? A name is too important to cater to someone else’s convenience. My son is pretty uniformly called Pippin but his full name is Thomas Joseph Peregrine. This confuses people, and means I have to make notes on paperwork sometimes. But so what? He gets to be called a name he likes and that suits him, and later on he’ll have a more dignified name, one that honors a beloved uncle, if he decides he wants it.

It’s just something I’ve been thinking about as we settle on a name for this babe. I don’t want to burden her with something ungainly that she has to explain to everyone she meets, but neither do I want to opt for bland and palatable over meaningful. Names grow, and I want to give her space to make her name her own.

Introducing…Buttercup Urglegrew Bowers!

Should crop out mess, can’t be bothered.
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