“What is Montague? it is nor hand nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;”
– Shakespeare, “Romeo and Juliet”
“Dave Turpin’s Tribute” post contained a hilarious vignette about meeting musician Dr. Louise Rose and our ensuing conversation about names. That struck a chord (no pun intended) with several of you. Misty wrote me a beautiful email which I asked her if I could publish here on The Deeper Side. She graciously agreed. Misty must have thought I was a total nut when I met her about 3 years ago. When I heard her name, without thinking, I spontaneously burst out into the jazz song “Misty” written in the 50s by pianist Erroll Garner. I was so excited. I had sung that song and studied it and then… decades later I got a real live Misty in front of me. A very charming one too! I didn’t realize the negative connotations or her struggles until I read her email a few days ago. Misty’s words are real and empowering. They need to be shared.
This topic is just the beginning of an exploration of names and identity. (I just created a new category “What’s in a Name.”)
Misty, like fresh dew on a rose.
In Misty’s words:
” I want to talk to you about your possible “Insert name _____ Here Blog“!! I have loads to contribute! and it is such a relatable topic, the spectrum to touch on is so vast, I don`t know where you would begin, other than the moment a woman becomes pregnant! It is comical how so many people have opinions on names! We both have names that people in Victoria would call unusual or unique, or beautiful. Names that would stir thought of reasoning, where, how, why, who, as to that name. It is a great topic Gurdeep! From the moment I became a teenager in grade 9, and a boy said my name was in a porno mag, I shuddered, and was getting ready to play fieldhockey that day, and I viewed my name differently, I felt a bit defensive, and played extra hard that day, we won, and I whacked the ball with incredible force that I don`t think the `Misty from the porn mag` would want to change her name to Thunder. But clearly I had a problem with my name from that point on, it was usually, comments on their cat`s name is Misty, to a horse, to judgmental questions if my parents were hippies.
“My grandmother from Scotland gave me this name, after the `misty highlands of Scotland` and she was a spiritual healer, her name was Anne Sherwood, and she even changed her name! Her first name used to be something else, and she didn`t like it and called herself Anne! My own mother was named `Susan`, and at age 5 she refused to answer to `Susan“instead preferred the name Mary! For two weeks it went on like that until one day, calling her in for supper, Anne, finally on the fifth or sixth try, gives in and chimes in, “Alright then…Maaaryy, suppers on the table“. And oh how, little Mary perked up and promptly complied jumping in to eat supper, and that was that, my mom Mary. My dad refused to have the first born named Misty, she is a girl, and he says lawyers are non known to be called Misty. Yes Wendy she was named. I had no chance, as a second born daughter, she will be called Misty says my granny, and that`s that. So, not a parrot, a horse or a stripper, or parents of hippies, but maybe my mom is a wannabe hippie she is a healthfood nut, thank god.
“I struggled with possible changing my name when in my twenties, and a responsible adult with full control over my life, my job, and maybe even possibly my name. I contemplated changing it to Katherine, I envied my older sister`s middle name Katherine, named after my Granny`s Grandmother, Katherine Robertson. But all my friends would have to call my that, and it would feel weird, then I thought to go to Metlakatla, I asked my dad, “what names did we inherite from Granny Cora, I want to have one.“. He tells me you have to go through a huge process, and ceremony, and learn some songs and it is a big thing, and so on, and so on. I am exhausted just hearing about it, so much work. I tell myself, well maybe my name acts as a filter, it filters out the people I wouldn`t get along with, and invites the ones I would. I declare to myself, that I will prove to the Misty`s of the world we have a great name, and for all who are not `strippers, or sex industry workers`, that make this name into an objectification of a woman, I will make all Misty`s proud, and never become a stripper, or a sex worker, and instead use humour to counter any odd comments thrown my way upon first introductions. “
I’ll leave you with Misty Sung by Ella: