“The fight-or-flight response (also called the fight, flight, freeze, or fawn response [in PTSD], hyperarousal, or the acute stress response) is a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fight-or-flight_response_%28in_humans%29)
Refer to this definition as often as needed during this blog. I’m sure you will 😉
I grew up in the era of names like Michelle, Rochelle, Bianca, Denise, Trina, Karen, Tayren, and here I was Lana. It is pronounced “Lah-nuh,” or “Lan-nuh.” Either one is fine with me but when one pronounces it like “Lane-nuh,” or “Line-nuh,” I see red! Suffice it to say I hated my name.
Have you ever visited bookstores and on a carousel were name cards and their meanings? Did you vigorously look for your name but never found it? Me too.
It wasn’t until I was in my late twenty’s that I was given a card for my birthday by a very good friend. She had a special gift to give people cards that said exactly what they needed to hear. When I saw what my name meant I cried. The card said, “Light,” and the picture on the front was that of an eagle. The scripture attached was Isaiah 40:31, “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint,” (English Standard Version).
Everywhere I went that card was with me. It reminded me that I was “Light,” even though I’d existed and operated in darkness, beginning in the womb of my mother. My life was dark, dank, and it stunk. I hid most of the time from the light. I hid in the background blending in with the scenery, or underneath the basement stairwell as a child to block out the verbal trash thrown at me. But my favorite place to hide was in television shows, romance novels, or a pornographic tale. Yep! Darkness was my friend, confidant and my secret keeper. It allowed me to unleash my anger, rage, bitterness, jealousy, hate and murder against those who verbally or at times physically abused me. This was my light and I was in both modes. I was fighting to be left alone and in flight to get emotionally and physically away from family, religious circles and academic halls. The words that I was called and the statements I was told like, “fat, dysfunctional, stupid, average, and no man will marry me because I was fat,” I was far away from being light. I was darkness personified and I believed that I was with my whole heart.
In the beginning of the new millennial I was compelled to further research the meaning of my name. With the swiftness of the internet and a push of a button several meanings flew across the screen. Still killing trees (didn’t have recycled paper) I wrote them down in my journal to look at the meanings from other cultures.
Now it’s your turn. Write down your name in your journal. Look it up on the internet and write down every definition you find. If your name is more modern like Alize’, Subaru, Tanisha, Tanqueray or a combination of a family or friend’s name look their names up and you will find your meaning. This research will be life changing because you will see the scenes of your life play right before your eyes. You will discern your behavior and/or action of flight, fight or both in existing or hopefully living your life.
As I gave you the examples of the meanings of my name you can see the fight, flight or both. The revelations of these definitions will explain why you were treated as such and this will also give you the courage to reclaim the positivity of your name. Now if your name means something belittling, demeaning or offensive this is where you will have to view the opposite of its meaning and embrace those words. Another way to embrace the positive nature of your name is to research the origins of your name. It may be embedded in another name. For example, Alize’ has its origins in French and English but it also sounds like several other variations in African, Greek, and Hebrew. The meaning of it is, “Trade-winds.” Choose the definition that resonates within your gut. Your gut response will be the true meaning of your name as it relates to your journey. There is another spelling and definition of Alize, which is the wine and it means “Clouds of Heaven.” If you can’t choose right now take some time and pray and/or meditate over the definitions and wait until you get an answer that brings peace to your soul.
Lastly, if you’ve never liked your name ask yourself why? What made you not like your name? Was an unkind word said about your name? Were you named after a relative that maybe your family didn’t like but they liked their name? I know. They why name you after a person they didn’t like? [Sigh] The story surrounding your name will reveal why your life has taken emotional, mental and sometimes physical twists and turns.
In spite of how and why you were given a name, you have the power to change the meaning of your name. My name means “Light,” even though I experienced darkness. I decided, I chose to turn my back on the darkness and see the light in me and around me. It wasn’t as easy as saying it because darkness didn’t want to let go so easy and truthfully I was afraid to let go of my familiar friend as well. Daily I stumbled, but got back up to seek the “Light” in me. In each cultural meaning of my name I took the positive and made it my own. I’m still doing this process, daily. I refuse to agree with the critic of my present and the abuser’s voice of my past. I, with my Creator, determine the trajectory of my emotions, behavior, and beliefs.
Some people have changed their names to a name that they believe fits who they are. This is there way of taking back their power over the ones who abused them. Renaming yourself to your liking is perfectly alright. But your name, chosen, by your parents speaks volumes to the building of your foundations of your belief systems and if you change your name then those systems must be changed as well.
I want you to spend some time in this area because:
As you are researching your name email me your questions and please leave a comment below about this blog. I do want to hear from you and see how your journey is going.
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