Names are important.
Hi! My name is “Annemarie”. No hyphen, no space, no capital. Annemarie.
I was named after my maternal grandmother, “Anne”, and my paternal grandmother, Marie.
We’ll get to the quotations in a moment.
My maternal grandmother, “Anne”, experienced the loss of her own mother when she was only 11.
She was the youngest of three and as the only remaining female in the home, was put in charge of raising her father and two older brothers.
“Anne” had five children of her own, never had a career, and went to bed at 5pm whilst her husband was working 2 jobs to support the brood.
Her children, including my own mother, would make dinner and serve her sandwiches in bed.
She, in my opinion, did not want children.
It was discovered when she was in her 80s, that her given name was Anna and preferred the less Eastern European (read “Pollack”) Anne.
As such, she chose to be called Anne.
My paternal grandmother, Marie, had six children and was committed to a mental institution twice (from my count but of course, it is still not openly spoken of with my father even after what you are about to read) for what is now understood to have been postpartum depression.
She died in her 60s of colon cancer that was advanced enough once discovered, to lead to multiple surgeries wherein parts of her lower intestine were removed.
But hey, at least they caught the crazy right?
Her youngest son, and my father’s closest brother, was diagnosed as bi-polar or “manic depressive” and sadly took his own life in his 40s.
To my knowledge, she chose to be called Marie her entire life.
Now it comes to my early days as “Annemarie”.
I was in first grade and my magnificent teacher (all are magnificent in their own way but she was truly amazing) Ms. Bjornsen – nicknamed me Annie.
And it stuck.
I have been more Annie than I have ever been “Annemarie”.
And yet…. I’ve known since I was young, a pre-teen, that I did not want children. I was able to choose that path, unlike “Anne” or Marie.
Coincidentally, my middle name is Julia.
Same as my mother and her mother before her.
I wish it was my first name.
I wish my nickname was “Jules”.
That is what my husband calls me, affectionately.
So we come to it. When I eat my own words and revise.
Names are not important.
They are all encompassing and also so fleeting as to not matter.
I hope you like yours and that if you don’t, you claim one you do.
I hope that the world spells it fucking right.