“It’s not the events in your life that shape you, but the importance you choose to place on those events.”
I’ve put a lot of importance on my name throughout my life. My name isn’t anything overly unique or exciting. I wasn’t named after anyone. I was an 80’s baby and Allison was a popular name at the time.
My Great Uncle used to run around with a video camera at big family events calling me Big Al. My mom hated it. She told me I shouldn’t let anyone shorten my name because Allison was such a pretty name. Being the know it all child that I was, anytime someone would call me anything but Allison I would say, “You can’t call me that. My mom said so”.
Later, I began to regret that I didn’t have a nickname (serves me right), so I began writing Alyson and Alissa on all my papers. Unfortunately my teachers were smarter than that and refused to continue the trend.
I loved flipping through baby name books my parents had and writing down names I liked. Once I looked up my own name and saw the definition: “Little Truthful One”. I was kind of disappointed. I wanted it to mean something cool like moonbeams.
Despite my disappointment the definition stayed with me. I ended up in a relationship where truthfulness became the crux of most of our issues. All he wanted me to do was tell the truth about everything and I found I struggled with it.
I wondered, “What is my definition of truthfulness?” I mean, let’s be honest, I’d told my fair share of lies as a teenager. I also disliked conflict so was masterful at omissions. Did this mean I wasn’t truthful?
I even thought of Ahimsa: non-harming. If the truth would only hurt, was it really better to say? Why was it so hard for me to live up to my name?
Eventually I met a friend who immediately commented on my candor. He was a very private person and was repeatedly shocked at my openness and honesty about everything.
He was right. I have always been forthcoming about my family’s history of depression. I wrote an email to my favorite English teacher in college to tell her she was my favorite. I even told my friend when I thought she was settling for a guy.
Suddenly I loved my name. I loved it so much that when recently asked what URL I wanted to use for my new website I immediately replied, “My name of course!”
I figured if I’m going to be Allison Richard, “Little Truthful One” I’m going to be the best damn one there is.