By Any Other Name

By: Breeaunna Dowdy

Names. Titles given to us at birth by someone with no idea of who we are or what we'll become, they are iron-clad chains bound to our lifetimes by those who want us to be something great. We do not all fit our names and we do not all fit in those boxes; a name is always just a name.  

Mine is a derivative of a word meaning ‘hill,’ transferring through language barriers to mean someone ‘high’ and ‘mighty,’ to mean someone noble. But I don't fit into this box.

It's a name my mother picked because it was easiest to make intricate, to make unique; a name my father agreed to because it was better than Savannah. It's a gift given to me that I didn't ask for, a present better suited to someone else. It’s a reprieve from the nameless ten months I lay incubated in my mother's stomach. It was decided last minute when they looked at me and instantly "knew." 

I have never had that feeling. I would always rather be a Sage, a Dahlia, Isadora, or an Alice. A name that fits the box that I created for it. I want a name given backwards.  I want to live in a title that's the perfect size of my personality, characterizing my tendencies and dreams, passions and favorites. I want a few syllables to describe my favorite civilizations in history.  

I don't want to look in the mirror and see a name that I've never truly coined as my own and I don't want to live with a preordained idea of who I am written on my gravestone. I want to see the Aztecs in my reflection on lakewater, the quiet war of words on paper in windows as I pass by, the thin jar I use to clean out my paintbrushes on a line at the top of my pages.  

In the end, I guess that a name is just a name. Breeaunna is to me just as Savannah is, just as Sage is. Because no matter the signature, I will still want to be an artist, and my favorite songs will still be the same, and I will always live every day of my life showing people that I will never be bound by anything.  Especially a name.

After all, it is said that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But I guess I'm not much of a Juliet, either.