The Power of a Name

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Project Fairy Tale

Remember way back when, a few months ago, when I was having a complete jealousy complex toward Katie at Words for Worms and I signed up to read some fairy tales and write about them as if I were a book blogger or something? No? Here, you can go back and read about why I chose Rumpelstiltskin…then come right back.

So obviously, my chosen fairytale was based on my obsession with Once Upon a Time (Stop judging me. Stop it.) Brian and I *almost* went as Rumpel and Belle for Halloween which would have been fucking fantastic. I would have even dyed my hair brown for the occasion. As you know, we ended up going as Jack and Sally so that I could keep my ginger color and have a bad ass costume to boot…

Do you want to know WHHYYYY Brian vetoed this plan? I’ll bet you can guess after checking out this picture:


Yep, sparkles. shimmers. shine. Brian didn’t want a sparkle face. He has no problem with makeup, but sparkles are a disease. Infectious. It’s sad really…Because I miss my sparkle lip gloss.

That being said, I don’t have awesome pictures of my boyfriend as Rumpelstiltskin, but you know what? After reading the original fairytale, I’m not as impressed with Rumpel.

Granted, I know…He wasn’t all that great in Faerie Tale Theatre (and really, to be quite honest, neither was Shelley DuVall [If you are unsure of who or what I’m talking about, you definitely missed out on an excellent childhood experience: The joy of Faerie Tale Theater.]

When I was growing up, I was obsessed with Faerie Tale Theater. OB-SESSED. Whenever I was sick, Mom would go to Blockbuster [blah-k-bus-ter: proper noun: a place where one borrows movies for a set time at a nominal fee] and rent several episodes of Faerie Tale Theater. I would watch them over and over and over again. We had to get our money’s worth of viewing from Blockbuster.

My favorites–the ones Mom would rent repeatedly–were The Snow Queen, Rapunzel, and Rumpelstiltskin. My grandpa had Sleeping Beauty on Laserdisc for me, and I had Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella [Oh, God Matthew Broderick/Prince Charming I love you!] so I didn’t worry about renting those. Yes I know I’m still in parentheses)…but I was hoping for a little something more…

Rumpelstiltskin: A Fairytale Book Review

OK, it’s not a book, so much as a short (operative word here) story. You can read it easily enough by clicking the heading above. Fairy-tales are fables. They’re stories to teach. To entertain. And at one time they were verbal. SO…they’re short. Which is totally okay.

But you know what is not okay? Turning into a whiny little bitch because someone knows your name. OK OK it’s more than that. The miller’s daughter is SUCH a victim, it’s not even funny. Her dad pawns her off to the king for riches. The king demands riches before he will love her. The little man promises her riches in exchange for everything she owns including her unborn child. But she’s clever. And sneaky. And manages to survive her father, the king, AND the little man. So shit, girl…get the hell away from these crazy men and go find some elf in the woods or something…

Like him, perhaps?

In all seriousness, though, I think that there is something to be said about the power of a name. How often do you speak the name of your children, your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend? Your friends? How often do you hear your own name? If you really think about it, it isn’t always that often. You hear your name more when you’re being talked about than spoken to.

Take a minute. Think back to the last time someone said your name. Was it gossip? Was it directed at you? Was it sweet or harsh? A name is a powerful thing to know. Google your name. See what pops up. What does the world know about your name? Do you want the world to know or do you hide behind a pseudonym? When you write about your family, your friends, your children…do you share their names?

Rumpelstiltskin may be just a short fairytale in the world of literature, but it certainly speaks volumes about power. And names.

Blog Friends, I want to know your thoughts…what is the power of a name?

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16 Responses

  1. Bwahahahaha! I totally remember Faerie Tale Theater! And Rumplestilskin could spin straw into gold! Pretty sweet talent. I hear my name all the time, but usually in the plural. Jim refers to me as “Katies” instead of a pet name.

  2. From the darkness of the Fairy Tale comes the light of the true meaning. We (Jews) name our children after people we love who are no longer with us. It’s our way of keeping those who we miss alive through the next generation. I cried when I gave my older son my brother’s Hebrew name. But I just LOVE that we talk about him, keep him present, through his name. Great piece, Chrissy.

    1. That. Is exactly what I’m talking about. I was named after my dad’s favorite cousin and his mother. And while both have passed on, they are remembered through me.


  3. I haven’t seen Faerie Tale Theater, but now I want to check it out with my daughter. I stopped going by my nickname in Kindergarten. I wanted to sound more grown-up. 😉

  4. I am supposed to be cleaning my bathroom…shhh.

    My daughter is just grasping the concept of names and is beginning to use them. She finds they have great power. When you call your dad by his first name you certainly get a reaction.

    I read one once in a psychology book or something that the sound of your own name is one of the most beautiful sounds to your own ears. I don’t know if this is true or not, but there have been times in my life when hearing my own name said has sent a thrill through my body (the award you won, the boy you liked, when a friend you haven’t seen in ages spots you on the street).

    1. That is SO what I mean! Whenever Brian says my name, it sends a chill/thrill through me. And it’s not often…because it’s just us, so who else would we be talking to, you know? It’s exciting.

      Ha @ Tiny-Small…such a crafty little one!

  5. I loved the story of Rapunzel. My mom used to read it to me as a child again and again, by request. I used to call it “radishes” because in the version we had, there was radish garden outside her tower.

    The name I go by is not my legal name. The name I go by, Molly, was given to me upon my birth by my father. I am legally named after two great grandmothers, and I love my middle name, but they never called me that. I was donned Molly because my father heard me scream and watched me squirm when I was born and said, “That is not a ___ that is a Molly.” The first legal name I have, is after his grandmother, so I guess that’s a good thing, because I’ve always been rather feisty and I don’t know if she was but I’m guessing not.

    This was lovely post.

      1. it’s Mary Julia — I’m not a Mary in the least; I am like my GG Jules though.

        Chrissy, I have been so brain dead, I knew I saw something incredibly profound about names and I couldn’t remember where I saw it. Then it hit me today — at the art exhibit I saw last weekend. Ai Weiwei said this,

        “A name is the first and final marker of individual rights, one fixed part of the ever-changing human world: no matter how poor or how rich, all living people have a name, and it is endowed with good wishes, the expectant blessings of kindness and virtue.”

        I wrote about the exhibit in my post today — — check it out; his work transcends art; it’s soul food. See you! 🙂

  6. Oh heck yeah I loved Faerie Tale Theatre when I was a kid. I think my favorite one was The Six Dancing Princesses, but I also really liked Beauty and the Beast (ever though it totally creeped me out). Last I knew they were on Netflix for streaming, so I might go back and watch some.

    Anyway, Rumpel was never a favorite fairytale of mine, but the guy in Once Upon a Time has made me a little more fascinated with that character.

  7. I hate my name! April… it’s a fucking month with rain! What was my mom thinking! Oh an my new married name… horrible! My husband agrees! I only write about Ollie’s name becuse in my original blog the one on pregnancy naming my child was a big thing. In fact my son was nameless for 4 hours after birth! Finally I went along with my husband and am SO glad I did. However, my husband does not want me blogging about his name, that is why he is FTD. and I will always write under a pseudonym to protect myself and my family, I already write under two different ones! one as a man and one as a very eccentric woman!

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