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Why Do Names Matter? An Exploration Into the Name Delfina

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“Hi, I’m Delfina!”

Since I learned my name was special from people’s reactions, this simple phrase has initiated plenty of conversations, avoiding both parties’ unnecessary small talk about the weather.

Depending on where you’re reading this from, you may or may not have across someone with my name. Humbly stated, where I live, I’ve never met another Delfina.

In interviews and social outings, people never fail to notice my name. Secretly, they might enjoy hearing my name, because it’s memorable. They won’t have to rummage through their memory to find it if they meet me again.

How did I get this name?

My dad (and I) are allergic to self-care, I already wrote about that, but he’s also allergic to secrecy.

He decided what he’d name me since before my older brother’s birth. Fortunately, he powered through and didn’t share it with others until I was born.

My name is a combination of facts.

  • Delfina means dolphin.
  • Delfina was the first woman to swim through the English Channel.
  • According to my dad, Delfina is also the mother of the ocean, considered a nurturing, caring figure of motherhood, beyond “my son, my daughter, my non-binary child” spectrum.

Do names matter? Desperate Housewives chime in

There’s this Desperate Housewives episode I vividly remember, where Susan Mayer, played by Teri Hatcher, just had a kid with, ironically, Mike Delfino. They planned on calling the kid Connor. Recently, though, Mike’s heroic grandpa died, and now he wanted to name the kid after him.

The grandparent’s name was archaic, old, tasted bad around the saliva in your mouth, it was (subjectively) ugly. With a not-so-quick Google search, I found out the name was Maynard.

In the hospital, Susan’s friends tell her that she and Mike should rethink the name, consider how it’d affect the kid’s future. They mention the importance of names in our lives, and convinced, Susan seeks the responsible person that could help her undo the Maynard ugliness and change her son’s fate, giving him an actual chance at life.

If I remember correctly, she shares her conflict, but the nurse listening simply isn’t as invested. Frustrated, thinking about the horrible future that awaited her son if they named him after Mike’s grandpa, Susan finally finds the one nurse that she was sure would help her. How did she know? The nurse had a (subjectively) ugly name, the ones that haunt you, especially during your teenage years, wreaking havoc at your confidence.

The ugly-name nurse listened attentively and decided to help, maybe knowing all too well what the baby’s future would hold.

Was Susan overreacting? I don’t know. Do I have a list of super-secret names for my potential future kids that I haven’t shared with anyone because I acknowledge that names matter, a lot? Yes.

Names & faces

In a quote wildly misattributed to Oscar Wilde, George Orwell said, ‘At 50, everyone has the face he deserves.’

Speaking of Wilde, in psychology, the way factors like personality or self-confidence influence our looks is known as the “Dorian Gray effect.” You can read more about how our names determine our future here or in The New Yorker.

I’ve always believed we become our names. Isn’t that why many new parents decide to wait until their baby’s birth before naming them?

I believe I “look” like a Delfina, no matter how strange that sounds. When a famous Albanian writer came by my elementary school, and asked me whether he could name one of his characters after me, and then, years later, a new person I met told me she’d read my name in a book by this author, it did something to my soul. Call it ego or whatever, I fucking love it.

My best friend and I used to have a particular prejudice against women with a certain name. For a few years, all these women kept repeating unhealthy cycles. These women are doing significantly better now, though.

It’s true what Orwell said, many people in their 50s or 60s look how they are. Even more people look like their names.

In a world where uniqueness is discouraged, many people dislike the spotlight or having memorable, distinguishable features.

People have jokingly referred to me as “a shark” for ages, especially during our teenage years. Boys especially, thought this joke was incredible, that they were the first to come up with this astonishing analogy.

Besides looking like a Delfina, I also feel connected to my name because of its inclusion in my writing business. The Inner Dolphin is an exploration of Delfina’s inner depths, thoughts, jokes, failures, successes.

My name is one of the things I love about myself, I’ve never heard another I’d rather have.

“I never met another man I’d rather beAnd even if that’s a delusionit’s a lucky one.

Charles Bukowski

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