What is in a Name?

Inspired by Sandra Cisnero’s My Name:

My name brings thoughts from 4th grade when my teacher could not pronounce it correctly and called me variations of it: Lorenzo, LoRANa, Loraina, and Laura even.
My name brought me embarrassment because everyone else had pretty names such as Stephanie, Veronica, Monica, Ashley and mine was like a big, black thumb that you couldn’t hide. It didn’t sound pretty, it sounded like a mud hole, a place where Shrek would live. It conjured images of disastrous and disgusting things…
I try to imagine my father gazing over this baby girl who had his nose and announcing what my name would be. What was he thinking? And why the hell did my mother let him name me that name? What inspired that name, my name? A relative? Some movie star? A song? A mud hole?
It sounds harsh, feels harsh when you say it as if your mouth tugs with longing to not say such sounds. As if it hurts to bring forth that combination of l’s and r’s and the -ren- part is just agonizing. All of a sudden your tongue has just gone berserk and refuses to do anything productive. I see how people politely avoid pronouncing my name when they meet me. “Oh pleasure to meet you, my name is Lorena.” “Yes it is wonderful to meet you…ah, um…yes nice to meet you too.”
Loranza, Larana, Loraaaaghna, and I can still hear my teacher in 4th grade trying to say these sounds until one day I feel like screaming, “It’s LORENA pendejo.” But I just smile and sit respectfully knowing that whenever gruesome sounds come out of his mouth and he looks like he is about to vomit, he is simply referring to me.
Me who is defined by this name. Strange,like a mudhole, but good and yet it rolls off your tongue when you really try. Lorena. Lorena. Lorena.

2 responses to “What is in a Name?”

  1. Yes, I loathed my name as a child, especially once I got into 4th grade. Apparently it is not as unique as I once thought and is pretty common in Mexico. You know for some reason, writing this piece was like getting one of those heavy weights off your chest kinda like “here it is! I refuse to hold it any more so I am gonna let it go!” Was nice to see it looking back at me.


  2. Did you really dislike your name so much when you were a kid?
    Come to think of it, I’ce never met anyone else named Lorena. Did your folks just make it up.
    Did they mean Loretta? Or Lauren?
    Thanks for reminding me of Sandra Cisnero’s story.
    This was a highly entertaining post, L1. Thanks!


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