Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably know that the royal couple has announced the name of their new baby girl. Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana—if that doesn't scream gimme my damn crown then I don't know what does.
When the Duchess of Cambridge called me and told me I would be the namesake for the new princess (we prefer to keep our bestie friendship a secret), I happily gave her my blessing. I also sent apologies since I would not be able to attend the birth (I am a very busy person, after all) and told her to give Will my best.
Let's step back into reality now, shall we?
What really happened is my lovely mama tagged me in a post on Facebook and said, "I have a Princess Charlotte, too!"
Awe. My mom thinks I'm a princess! Take that Buckingham Palace.
When I saw the name choice, my immediate thought was that I am now a princess by association, obviously. My second thought was: Oh balls. Now everyone and their grandmother is going to have my name.
The name has been gaining popularity over the past decade anyway, but now that the name is associated with being a princess—game over. That's like Oprah announcing her all-time favorite book—it's going to be everywhere. My name will now be the next Emma, Olivia, Ava, Sophia or Rose. (C'mon. You know you know 22 of them.)
But, you know what? My irritation with that fact was very short-lived.
I started thinking about growing up with my name and recalling the names of my classmates. Back then, my name was uncommon. I was the only Charlotte in my K-8 school for the duration of my education and met only one other person in high school with my name—and these were not small schools!
When I was a little girl, I remember hearing the attendance being called and being so jealous of all of the Jennifers, Sarahs, Britneys, Jessicas and Amandas—it was like having a built-in bestie!
Where in the eff was the Charlotte S. to my Charlotte C.?
To top it off, I got the shaft in the souvenir department.
Not one damned amusement park, beach town, truck stop, or gas station ever had my name on a coffee mug or seashell. If my Grandma went on vacation, I got a keychain that said 'Charles' or 'Chad' and a, "Sorry, honey. That's the closest they had."
Unless someone was painting it on a grain of rice, my name didn't make the cut. (I am so glad this new batch of Charlottes will not have to endure this first-world agony. I am obviously scarred for life.)
So, because of these reasons, I began to resent my name.
I even tried to change the way it was spelled in 5th grade by turning my papers in with an 'S' replacing the 'C' because others kids had trouble pronouncing it. Another time I turned in a paper using one of my nicknames, Charlie. My teacher held me after class at the end of that week and ask me why I had been attempting to change my name.
I explained to her that it had always been difficult to sound out for the other kids and that I didn't feel like my name fit in. She kindly nodded and soaked in my explanation. She then took my hand and said this:
"Charlotte, you have a beautiful name. Sometimes, being a little different is what makes you the most beautiful. One day, you will love your name. Now, start spelling and using it correctly or I will not grade your papers."
Yes, ma'am! Mrs. Nowling was a wise woman. I still think of her often—even to this day! (Why aren't our country's teachers the ones living in mansions again? Capital B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T.)
So, after Mrs. N dropped some serious knowledge on my little ass, I learned to love my name. And I hope all of the rugrats chillin' in their mama's tummies right now love it one day, too—even if there are 9,000 others with the same name in their class. (That just means they get keychains and built-in besties!)
There is a lot of love that goes into a name. For whatever reason, our mother's held us for the first time and our name came to mind. And you can't knock a mama's love—because they will knock you out.
Now that I have really thought about it, I can't wait to meet all of these little Charlottes. I was named after a family member that my mother admired and, whenever I saw her, I swelled with pride. We shared something really special and she always made me feel a little less alone. It was like we shared a secret that only Charlottes could understand.
I hope I can be someone like that to the all of the mini Charlottes I meet along the way.
Now that I know there is an army of them coming, it really inspires me to try harder to do our name justice—to live a life another Charlotte just might be proud to live. Because, when it comes down to it, it's not about the name we are given as much as it is what we give back to that name.