The day I found a lost name

As some of you may know from Instagram and Facebook, I spent last weekend clearing out my attic. Instead of just coming out with the expected trinkets from my childhood I came out with an new name.

I was always annoyed that I only had one name; I’ve been moaning about it ever since I realised other people had more than me. I love my name, I think it’s beautiful, but still it’s just one. My sisters have two and three first names and it somehow made me feel like my existence had had less consideration, like I wasn’t as special. Sibling rivalry will do that to a person, don’t get me started on the fact that I’m the only one who can’t click my fingers. To add insult to injury, they also got to pick confirmation names. That left Gaby with three names and Gwladys four; I did my confirmation in France, where you don’t get to pick extra names, I was to remain Gaëlle and only Gaëlle, forever.

I was going through boxes of papers I had put in the attic, most were old notes from school, dull and uninteresting, when I found something. Like an archeologist, I had rooted through piles of artefacts, documents from the past, and discovered a treasure, a secret that no one knew. I came across a piece of paper from my confirmation and attached to it was my baptism certificate.

There it was, in blue biro ink, “Louise.”

The lost name.

My first reaction was “Dafuq?!” That is what I actually said. I wish I had come up with something better, something with more poetry to it. I just couldn’t understand what had happened. I just stared at the piece of paper for about ten seconds and looked at Gaby and Marc and said “You know the way I always complain about only having one name? Well I don’t, apparently it’s Gaëlle Louise.” They looked very confused, and then just laughed at me. I, of course, immediately went to my mother to demand an explanation. None was had. She had no recollection of it. It isn’t on my birth cert so it doesn’t appear on any legal documents.  It’s a name that was given to me when I was baptised and it was immediately forgotten.

To me though, it was like someone went back in time and gave me the name I had been longing for, like somehow this meant I mattered more to the world. Utterly ridiculous of course.

My mom thinks that she must have found out on the day she could give me a sort of “christian name” and just put another one down… and immediately forgot about it because it’s not written anywhere else. You’d think she’d have remembered once during the many many times I moaned about it.

Technically, it doesn’t count (my mother’s excuse), it isn’t legal, but I am keeping it. It’s mine and it’s precious.



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