What’s in a Name – by Alexandra Hilliard

What is in a name? What does a name mean? Are you your name?

My name is Alexandra. It’s origins are Greek in nature, and the name is derived from Alexander, “the protector of mankind”. I don’t have a middle name, so I can’t speak for that. I do know, that I have struggled with my name. How did my parents name me? Was it just an arbitrary choice when I entered the world, or did they have an idea before that? And also, why does everyone call me Alex instead of Alexandra?

It has never mattered much to me whether people call me Alexandra, Alex, or Al. I am not usually called by other names, except for a friend who has recently begun calling me Alexa, which I really like. However, these are the names I go by.

Sometimes people call me Hillary. I assume it is because they get confused about my first and last name. I can think of two times that this has happened, as I was giving a presentation in a church last spring, and in class on Friday. Both people that called me by the wrong name are nice people, and I doubt they meant offensive. But it feels belittling to me to not be called by name. I felt very small and insignificant.

To me, my name is important and is a symbol of who I am. I am attached to it, and wouldn’t feel comfortable by another name.

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