My Parents' One Moment of Whimsy

“Androgynous”, she sneered,
admiring the glow cast
from perfectly picked cherries of course.
“What is that even supposed to mean?
 It’s suspicious, subversive
and all that’s wrong with the world today.”

I thought back
to less elegant slights,
consisting of sing-song almost rhymes,
because my name couldn’t even do that properly.
Wishing for at least a foreignness
that harmonized with rolled r’s and end z’s
if I couldn’t be an Ann, Katie or Sue.
Not a quasimodo mouthful.

Androgynous? Ambiguous!
Neither here nor there.
A halfling name for a changeling child,
a peculiar woman,
and someday an eccentric crone.
I’ve always been at home
slip sliding between worlds.
Shouldn’t my name do the same?

So now when someone says,
“Pardon, Sir or Madame,
I don’t know who you are.”
I smile and say,
“I know.”


Process Notes: I saw writing a poem about using one's name was a topic a while ago on the Toads and always thought the idea was neat. I hated my name for the longest time until I got into an online political debate with a woman who made fun of it being so androgynous sounding (and implying its androgyny made my ability to engage in a debate suspect). That was the moment I learned to love it. My parents named me after Austrian actress Romy Schneider, but for some inexplicable reason decided to throw an extra "m" in.

Today's post is for the Tuesday Platform for Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads. Check out the rest of the terrific poetry over there. 

51 comments:

  1. Great poem! The phrases "a quasimodo mouthful" and "a halfling name for a changeling child" take my breath away!

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  2. "A halfling name for a changeling child,
    a peculiar woman,
    and someday an eccentric crone"
    Those words are the very definition of someone I want to know better and for always!
    This was just marvelous!

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    1. *grin* I am the Once and Future Weirdo...and darn proud of it

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  3. How about Renée? Works either way, especially in the European countries.
    I love it, makes me think. No problem with looks or dress but on the phone with me you'd swear you were talking to a lady. Won't say more.
    There is a young one in the news, a six-year-old who declared she was a boy, and was going to go that way.
    ..

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    1. Oh yes, there are plenty of names that could be one thing or another depending on where you are in the world. I know that lots of people like to make it a thing - they aren't comfortable with something not definitely being one thing or another. But I'm OK with seeing things in terms that don't *have* to be a strict duality.

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  4. Wonderful poem and love the name Rommy, similar problem as a child growing up but as i got older I grew into the name and today i proudly wear it as my badge of honor and individuality.

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    1. Yeah, it's hard being a kid and never finding your name on any of the novelty items you see, but there are some names worth growing into.

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  5. I really love this.. what a wonderful take on the prompt (which was mine a long time ago)... I think growing up this can be both advantageous and a problem.. but at the end it's a wonderful thing.. (my own name means bear, which everyone in Sweden knows...).

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    1. Then I shall thank you for the wonderfully thought provoking prompt! Thanks!

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  6. You have inspired me to look at my name and appreciate it more. Very well said!

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  7. The poem is fun and serious at the same time ... and I love your name, including the extra 'm'.

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    1. As certain as there is an extra "m" in my name, there's bound to be a smidgen of silliness in whatever I do.

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  8. So interesting and thanks for sharing this little slice of yourself. Love the halfling/changeling part. Isn't that the healthiest, to be open to difference and change? Keep on with your bad self, yay!

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    1. I certainly have found it to be the healthiest and the most conducive to happiness.

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  9. I smile and say,
    “I know.”

    Our name is ours to keep. One is to selfishly treasure it irrespective of what others might want to comment over it. They can bother about theirs but not of our names! Incisive thoughts Rommy!

    Hank

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    1. It was rather funny that a grown adult stooped to making fun of my name because it was so odd. But I'm glad she did, because darn it, I am odd, and I like it that way!

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  10. How one arrives at loving who one is! Well done and written.

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    1. Exactly, I've gotten fond of my odd name because it reflects my odd self, who I rather like most days!

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  11. You know I totally understand you. Maybe my problem with the name is not like yours. Although it is too unusual for my country and almost every time I present myself people even don't believe that's my name.

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    1. Rommy (and Romy) is still rather unusual for the US, but I heard it was a lot more common in Scandinavian countries as well as Germany and Austria as a pet form of Rosemary/Rosemarie. It did used to bother me a lot when people misspelled or mispronounced it, but at this point I just accepted its oddness is only truth in advertising - how many sci-fi loving, tea ceremony studying, mythology reading, belly dancing Latina writers are out there? :D

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  12. Rommy love, this reads like a song and I LOVE it!

    The image is perfect for it, too. Because it is a song and a movie and the tale of child-girl-woman-crone-to-be... A musical that starts serious and sneer(y) before bursting into sassy-wise song.

    The last stanza is my favorite.

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    1. Woot! I'm glad it has a musical quality.

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  13. LOVE it! Great poem for those who have always been weird!

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    1. *bows* That I have always been. :D

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  14. I really loved this. Quasimodo Mouthful is a kickass band name too. I used to dislike my given name too, but not for the same reasons. If you care, here's a poem about coming to my nom de plume. Seriously, loved this mighty big. Love, Mosk

    [http://ihatepoetry.blogspot.com/2015/04/my-name-is-buddah-moskowitz-and-i-am.html

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  15. Rommy--I love what you did with this. My childhood friend, with whom I remain in contact, has a daughter named Rommy (yes, with two M's) and I think it's a delight. That eccentric crone--c'est moi!

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    1. Yay! I love hearing about other Rommys in the world.

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  16. Whistles!!! ❤💜 This is absolutely delicious writing, Rommy :D I too used to hate my name when I was little, as its a highly common one. So I can totally relate to how you used to feel. I for one just adore your name as it has a certain elegance and charm to it. Love the phrases 'quasimodo mouthful' and 'changeling child' Beautifully executed. Thank you so much for participating at Prompt Nights and for your constant love and support ❤💜

    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

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    1. Aw, thanks Sanaa. I always thought your name was pretty.

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  17. A sweet poem. At first, I thought you were referring to changing your name to fit your identity, as I had done. :)

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    1. Funnily enough, the conversation that inspired this poem was with a woman who was adamantly against LGBTQ rights. Somewhere in the exchange, she made fun of my name and tried to use it as proof of...something? LOL. Apparently my name was so weird to her, it showed a natural disposition to espouse, what was to her, aberrant views.

      I had never thought about how androgynous my name sounded before, but once she decided to use that as an insult, I learned to love my oddball name.

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  18. I love rereading this. The energy of the words, the feelings make me lift my chin, and read the "I know" aloud and with a grin on my face.

    Next time we talk, I'm going to totally over-roll my Rs. :-D

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  19. I love your name...so individual, unique and magical. XXX

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  20. Curiously my name Robin was almost exclusively a boy's name when I was young. Over the years it has become shared quite evenly. I had no choice of course my mother choosing it as she heard a Robin singing early in the morning when I arrived! Great poem and I really loved the last verse.

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  21. You have a beautiful name - one that seems to have shaped you or perhaps you have given it shape (i never know which way around that works) Perhaps that moment of whimsy working out pretty well. I do hope so

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    1. I think we shaped each other in the end. I'm glad I grew into it as much as it grew to suit me.

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  22. Brilliant interpretation of the prompt, and I especially love this
    "I’ve always been at home
    slip sliding between worlds.
    Shouldn’t my name do the same?"

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  23. You define your name not the other way round... strong woman

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