“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
— William Shakespeare
This classic question, asked by Shakespeare, we all know. And while I am not hanging on balconies or poisoning myself, I do wonder what’s in a name.
I know some of you have wondered if Arizona is my real name, but then I ask you. What is a “real” name? And why does it matter? Is a nickname any less real? What if you shorten someone’s name?
We are what we call ourselves. Our names are the words we answer to.
And I happen to have many names. If you allow me, I will tell you a little more about myself.
22 years ago, I was born as a healthy (slightly chubby) baby. I had ten fingers and ten toes, a full set of working organs, and a cute button nose.
But my parents weren’t happy.
You see, I wasn’t wanted. Or maybe I was, but my parents just couldn’t keep me. Who knows. I certainly don’t. Either way, this was not the happy occasion a birth should be.
They told me I stayed with my birth parents for a couple of weeks and in that time, I must have had a name. I mean, who doesn’t name their child? But what that name was? Honestly, I wouldn’t know. I will never know. My first name will always be a mystery to me. But just because I don’t remember it, doesn’t mean it’s not real. It counts.
What I do know, is that they wanted a better life for me and I found myself at the doorstep of an orphanage. The people there took care of me for 9 more months and gave me my second name. But it wasn’t a name like you usually get. It was more a number than a name. They just needed something to address me. To identify me. But I was still just a lost child. A number. A nobody.
They got one thing right though. Part of my name meant ‘good luck’ and I did come into good luck.
Ten months after I took my first breath on this earth, my new parents flew into the country and were ready and excited to meet me. Their new daughter. They were so overjoyed that their eyes overflowed. From that day on, I had parents again. And with those parents came new opportunities, new sights, new experiences, and a new name.
From that day on, my name wasn’t just to identify me. It was meant to personalise me. To shape me. To love me.
I was finally found.
My parents called me a tree that blossoms in the winter and again, I think the name they picked for me was spot on. I have always blossomed when things seemed at their most unlikely.
Many years later, I got a fourth name. You know this name.
You are the ones that gave it to me. And I accepted it like all the other names before this one. And like all the names before, this one had a purpose as well.
When I got my first name, I was unwanted.
When I got my second name, I was an orphan.
When I got my third name, I was found. Found by loving parents.
But my fourth name, now that is a special one. I wasn’t lost anymore, I didn’t need to be found again, I didn’t need to be more than I already was.
Yet it turned into something I hadn’t expected.
My fourth name became a protective cocoon for me. When I entered, when I became Arizona, I suddenly had all the freedom that I ever wanted.
I could write about anything and everything without holding back, I could feel anything and everything without shame, I could be anything and everything I wanted to be. I could show my inner self directly to your inner self, as we both discard the masks we so carefully created over our lifespan.
This name protects the vulnerable person that is locked inside me. And by writing to you, I can both protect and show myself all in the same space.
But Arizona isn’t just a cocoon for me, it is a cocoon for all of you. Because with everything I post and publish, I invite you in.
I invite you into my safe space.
Here you can voice your opinions without worrying what repercussions they may bring. You are free to read all the literature you desire, think without boundaries, norms, and rules, feel all the things you are afraid to let yourself feel, and desire exactly what you yearn so passionately for.
Nobody will judge you, nobody will bully you, nobody will pester you. I won’t allow it.
In this cocoon, you and I are both safe.
My name is Arizona and I type.