We call our loved ones special terms of endearment and it makes them special.
My kids have been:
Munchies, Munchkins, Kidlets, Punk, Punky, Punk Butt, Pumpkin (Always depends on how I react to their normal.) Leprechaun, Snuggle bug . . .
I’ve called exes Sweetie, Love, Babe, and Honeybee.
My sisters have always called me Yessie, but I usually introduce myself as Yessica. I respond to Mom too.
I like birth names. I’ve met plenty of people that define their identity and shift a name to shift the perspective they want to be seen as, but I prefer birth names and try to use them at every opportunity.
When I was younger and my neighbors were from Diamond Street, I’d walk with them to their “neighborhood” (layers of irony define gang life, who knew?). They went by their placa, but I always called then names given by their mom. We’d walk to Bixel where he was slanging rocks with his homies, and I was calling them Jorge and Juan instead of Trusty and Ghost. I never called my ex by the names he created because I always see who I interpret, and never who they want to portray.
For me it’s about intimacy. When I see a person . . . when I truly look at them, I choose to see past what they say. It’s part of that overthinking superpower.
I see a man that chooses to shave his head, and I wonder if it’s because his hairline was receding or if he was going gray. I wonder if he knows how hot his salt and peppered hair is to me.
I see a man that surrounds himself with toys and things, and wonder if he’s bored when he’s alone because when we talk, he isn’t as nearly fascinated with himself as I am with him. I wonder if he sees his value the way I do because if the conversation has lasted more than 10 minutes, and I’m saying more than he is instead of one or two words or a sentence here and there, I’m digging the way he makes me feel. I wonder if he sees his value in what he has and what he’s done. Things that never matter when we’re apart and all I have are memories.
I see a woman that walks proudly and I wonder if she is in a blissful moment or putting a strong face forward because that’s what we do to avoid street harassment.
I see my son with his excitement going over every single detail of something he saw or experienced, and I listen fully and remember details to return because it’s not the day he wants me to remember but the fact that he is mine and I love him is something he needs to be reminded of. For a while he insisted he was “Super A Plus.” He was humored.
When I was pregnant with my children, I put so much hope into their lives and it showed up as what I would call them when they were born. I wanted their names to mean something. Naming a child is providing a legacy to grow into. We named our firstborn after two of our best friends growing up. Our second child’s middle name is after his Dad. Our third son’s middle name is after a missed grandfather and a crazy uncle that saw me when I was at my broken and rebellious age. He was my anchor. We honored our family in our progeny. I spent time thinking of my children and their names and who they would become around those names. Okay, so Kid2 and Kid3 were named because I had an obsession with Irish names.
My name was never my favorite. It’s odd. My Dad was studying Hebrew. In honor of the alphabet, he named me Yessica instead of Jessica because there isn’t a “J” sound in Hebrew. There is now because language evolves. He refers to my name as “God’s gift.” It was often a source of teasing. It’s constantly misspelled and misheard, but it’s who I am. When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to grow up and change my name. At some point in high school, I was referred to as Yeska, and the idea of being someone’s addiction is what made it okay to be what I was born as. I started feeling like my name was no longer a label but who I get to embody. There is no one else like me, and I own that now. I didn’t, but I do. I can accept that I’m intense and what I give to the world doesn’t need to be returned because I am boundlessly refillable. That is what it means to be Yessica. That is who I am. I didn’t create a name because I’ve finally grown up into who I choose to be. My name was chosen just for me. It was created for me. If my parents were like me, my name was written over and over the way you might doodle the name of a person you like. It was given to me for my birthday and I use it every single day.
I might not have said it but I love Harry Potter. I tend to keep my inner geek tucked in, but you’ll see her sneaking out from time to time. She likes Star Wars and Star Trek, Lord of the Rings and when t.v. was about escaping life, the Syfy Channel.
My oldest keeps referring to our President-elect as a yam. I’m not calling him Voldemort. I’m just saying we embody our names and become a symbol of who we are and our name is our identity. When we see the name “Trump,” we often think of his successes and failures as a businessman (taking risks is part of winning big). We might think of his signature look and sense of style. We now think of the hate inside of him. I see his brokenness. When I think of Donald Trump I see a man that has had to prove himself repeatedly . . . His need to surround himself with beautiful, submissive women . . . His hate is more about ignorance from distance. I see brokenness. He’s damaged and I don’t feel gentleness but pity for him.
We give out so much of what we hold within. I was in a dark place when I started making my Facebook profile private. I realized last night I’m not that person anymore. Hiding who I am was about a sense of shame I don’t feel anymore. I’m an open book. I live with so much freedom in what I do, where I go and what I say because it’s who I am. It’s been a journey for me. But sometime last night, I realize I’m where I am meant to be. I’ve discovered the place where my story is the one I want to tell because who I am and how I show up means more than what others see. I used to be obsessed with gossip, but I’ve become a person that is more interested in the story I see and hear than what was told to me and I don’t even know when that shift occurred. I’m sure it started with Princess Diana’s death.
There’s so much reward in being the rose. Smell sweet. Blossom under the sun. Be the beauty within because when you start showing off what is within you, no one will hear what you have to say because how you show up says it all.