What’s in a name??

I used the above image not really because it has anything to do with names as such but because Hope as I said yesterday is something that we can cling too, hope gives us the opportunity to address our fears and face them head on, by doing so we can then determine what our next action should be.
Names however change or can change in many different circumstances, a woman who marries may take on the surname of her husband, a person may change their names by law or just wish to be known by any other name.
My grandmother dropped her middle name and my maternal aunt does not use her middle name either this is because her middle name is the same as her mothers and has some of you may have picked up from the few blog posts that I have done, our family were not very close and would today probably be described as dysfunctional.
Normal is what though, and who determines what normal is, it seems really strange that you can be proven in a court of law to be insane, however you never hear of anyone being classified or labelled in life has being sane. I guess from this then that we can deduce that normal is indeed your own individual reality, lifestyle and characteristics, we often hear people described as being eccentric or a little bit scatty but that may be their normal.

How important then is a name??
I think that if we go back in time and through history, what we discover is that a lot of names especially surnames were given based upon the career of the person, a blacksmith would probably have the surname Smith, a person who worked down the mines may be called Collier, a woodworker may have been called Carpenter etc.
Often since the census was introduced bearing in mind that the first census was actually taken in the UK in the year of 1086 when it was completed and was published as the Domesday book and was a record of the people of England and Wales at that time and even after that many censuses have been taken and because many people were uneducated they could sign with a mark, usually a cross.

Family names were seen to be a matter of prestige and in the male line in particular would be passed down from father to son through many generations, they were I think seen as a way of keeping the status of the family in the public eye.
In the church that I used to attend in my childhood prominent families had pews which often had the family name and crest on them and a big fuss was made when anyone else sat on those pews, some even had ropes on them to ensure that people who shouldn’t sit upon them weren’t able.

Is there ever a time that we lose our identity, I would like to say no but in reality I don’t think any of us can and these are my reasons why:

  1. When little Peter or Petra are born and they go to nursery and then school you suddenly become Peter or Petra’s mum or dad, this is even to people who have known you for many years.
  2. A woman will often take on by tradition the surname of her husband, whether this was originally done in the days of old to pass over responsibility, in some countries today a dowry is still asked for although from what I understand it is now the prospective groom who pays it whereas in days of old the family would give it as a gift too help support their daughter initially.
  3. Today a person can become who they want to be just by going into a solicitors office and paying a fee whether it be a forename, surname or both.
    It may surprise you to know that I have actually done that more than once, or it may not surprise you given some of my antics and impulsiveness and lack of control however I had what I thought were valid reasons and I will endeavour too explain them in the next few paragraphs.

As we have seen there are actually a lot of reasons why a person is named some of them better than others and how else would we be identified, well in terms of our children as I have said mum or dad, I was absolutely shocked when my uncle said that I was grown up enough to stop calling him uncle and just use his forename, it felt so wrong.
Social media and the internet would have us called by the things they call usernames, how interesting I could now be themanonthemoon @gmail.com or sweetsixteen&neverbeenkissed@hotmail etc. you get the picture or at least I hope that you do.
Government bodies like us to be known as numbers, I guess that it stops them from having to take off their socks and shoes to count with, although they don’t seem to have any difficulty in adding up their expenses claims or salaries or the royalties on the latest book sales.
Companies like us to be known by our dates of birth and postal codes.
The list goes on and happens in every walk of life, chocolate bars have been rebranded, household products used for cleaning and even companies change their names and even countries change their names.

I have changed mine on 3 different occasions and for many different reasons which were pertinent to me at the time or done on at least one occasion following a night out in a bar in Saint Ives in Cornwall a beautiful fishing village where I lived at the time and I was entertaining a young lady with a very exotic name, I can’t divulge it because I haven’t seen her in over 20 years now and it would be unfair, other than to say I commissioned a statue carved out of driftwood for her of a mermaid.

I had this done because this particular young lady was just like the tales that you have heard about mermaids, they were there but you never saw them, although she was very friendly when we were out she was also quite distant and almost had a certain charm and mystery about her which actually I found quite attractive and possibly it became somewhat of a challenge to get close to her although we almost became business partners we never became intimate.

I was born in 1964 and from what I have been told my dad wanted to name me after him Derek and my Grandfather wanted to name me Paul in the end the compromise was that I would be named Paul Derek and adopted my dads surname.
I was 13 when I went to live with my aunt and uncle and as soon as I was old enough I kept my forename and middle name and adopted my uncles surname after all he had been more of an influence on my life than my dad had been and had taught me a lot. Don’t get me wrong we had our fall outs as well but we always seemed to put things right.
When I moved to Cornwall my intention was never to return to the North West of England and my home town, I was hurting, angry, confused, my marriage number 2 had just fallen apart (THIS IS A THEME THAT YOU WILL SEE RIGHT THROUGH MY BLOGS)
What is the definition of an idiot someone who keeps doing the same thing over and over and yet expects a different outcome. Well I guess that in terms of relationships that was me.
Wife number two I met after my 1st wife and mother to my 2 children had decided that she didn’t want to go out, so I got my glad rags on and ended up going out with a couple of mates and we ended up at a grab a granny night and met wife number 2, a couple of days after we married we parted when I went to Spain on a year long contract, when I got back it was different and we went for a weekend away and she had sensed that I would be leaving her and a couple of days after we got back I boarded a train and ended up in Cornwall and very quickly secured a position in a top class hotel that also sold timeshare.
I wrote a lot of letters and posted them to the family and those who had played a part in my life, the most difficult one that I wrote was to my Grandfather, I poured my heart out in that letter expressing every feeling and emotion that I ever remember experiencing both when he was alive and after his death and every year that I would probably live until I would meet him again. By the time that I had finished that letter the paper was wet with salty tears and I don’t know about any other people but have you ever put so much emotion into something that at the end of it you feel absolutely drained, every ounce of my body ached and I felt defeated and somewhat useless.
I think that this stems from the fact that this was the first time that I had faced a reality check before I was able to run and hide myself away, here I was on my own feeling vulnerable, lost, anxious and very much afraid but above even all of that I felt disappointed in myself and very disappointed in the way that I had turned out, an alcoholic, father of 2 children who I had signed over my parental rights too, in order to stop the legal process that was becoming an hindrance.
I was sat in a bar feeling sorry for myself with a mermaid who had feelings I knew because she held my hand as I cried and formulated a plan, the following day I went into a solicitors office paid £65.00 plus VAT and made an appointment to change my name, so where did my name come from I actually took out everything and created a person called Oliver Guisbourne, he had the same background as I did after all it was me, the government are very generous and allow you to keep your number that they issue you with when you are 16 in the UK, they call it a National Insurance number, other countries probably use similar systems and numbers.
I thought that it sounded very Cornish and quite distinguished, and the signature was easy to do also or at least that is what I remember from the beer mat that I scribbled it on, there we go again alcohol, dims the parts of the brain that other things cannot reach anyway life continued and then that act of stupidity, the one thing that I wasn’t going to do and yet here we go again, by now you would have thought that being in a marriage where I was absent more than I was in it would have rang warning bells or flashed like a lighthouse warning about nearby rocks in my head, well my wife and she was still my wife we hadn’t started divorce proceedings rang me at work and asked me to go back home so guess what I did, and I walked up to the front door and put my key in it and it didn’t work and a face appeared at the bedroom window and said that I was not wanted back. I was stumped, confused and it definitely took a lot of time to process but she basically just said that she just wanted to see what I would do. I ended up in a hostel for some time but in the meantime I had made contact with my aunt and uncle and went back with my tail between my legs and the realisation comes into play that you can’t keep treating people like you do and expect doors to be opened and you be welcomed with open arms.
When I met wife number 4 I decided to change my name to what I wanted it to be and so I did just that and took my Grandfather’s surname and the forename that he had given me and I feel like I am who I should be.

What though is in a name??
I think that the answer to that was provided to me by someone who is very special to me, my eldest daughter who I love very deeply and have hurt immensely but who I am trying to build a relationship with and I am fortunate because she has given me chance after chance and has never really given up on me, she has experienced a lot though that if I had been a more loving responsible father to her she would not have had to experience.
I accept full and complete responsibility though for all of the actions that have occurred throughout my life on earth all 55 years of them and I do this not to make myself a victim but because I had choices and I made them and I have to live and die by those decisions and consequences that affect not just me but others.

What is then in a name, it is a sense of belonging, a family tree, a history, people and memories and has my daughter has said to me she felt that she had lost her identity and link to me and I actually think that she is extremely right in this.
Changing your name doesn’t change you as a person, I didn’t suddenly stop drinking and start caring because I had changed my name on more than one occasion, my problems didn’t suddenly disappear and if anything when I returned to my home town they became somewhat worse because you meet people that you used to associate with and then you meet new people and even now my auntie has a lot of problems about what to call me.

What changes you as a person is the realisation that you cannot remain in a situation or place or you cannot carry on living your life the way that you have done.

I often think of the old westerns that my Grandfather and I used to watch and the storyline was always that the fastest gun in the West was aging and slowing down but yet couldn’t retire because someone always wanted to take him on and sometimes I think that life today is very similar for most of us inasmuch as we cannot do the things that we used to do, we don’t have the same desires, lusts or passions that we used to have.
I am now 55 years of age which I don’t consider to be old but by the same token I don’t imagine me being the womaniser that I was or the drinker that I was or even being the same ruthless person that I was in business, you mellow, you grow up and eventually you stop being stupid and you certainly stop making the same mistakes that you always have done.

Published by paulguisbournehiltonalifeworthgiving

I am a 56 years old male living for the last 5 years in Pembrokeshire West Wales in the UK. I have entitled this blog along with my Facebook page as A Life worth giving because when I was growing up I was taught that the only way to get on in life was to be selfish, not even sharing sweets, books, pens or anything. I moved into adulthood with very much the same view of life and entered in my teens a life of alcohol dependency, another very selfish trait, my drinking consumed every waking moment and I saw alcohol as both my best friend and worst enemy, the only real positive was that it never let me down. Life changed for me in 1997 in the month of April when I stopped drinking and started to awaken my feelings, I found that I actually enjoyed life, enjoyed feeling although it was hard and left me feeling vulnerable yet today I am at my happiest, in a very loving relationship and life is good. A life worth giving is about my journey through life but also about being selfless and serving others willingly and with an attitude of gratitude.

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