My name is my identity, or is it?

Image via stanford2008

Would I ever change my name? No! Why? Because I love my name – it’s musical and has a beautiful meaning. It’s also unique, and I like that!

Most of all, though, I think this topic brings up a bigger question for me – a question of identity.

We go through life with various labels — girlfriend, wife, mother, employee, friend…the list goes on, but which of these really defines us? None of these labels is all-encompassing. If someone asks me who I am, my answer would change based on the context, my life experiences at the time, or maybe even my mood! But is that really my identity?

I don’t think so. My identity is my name — a window into my culture and myself, linking me with my parents and my spirituality — combined with my belief system, values and preferences.

What do you think is your identity? Given a chance, would you like to change your name?

Powered by Plinky

Posted in Essays, Stories and tagged , , , .

I’m an artist and art educator, podcaster, tarot reader, and writer. I share my discoveries along the path to inspire you to live a more creative, soul-centered life. Receive my love letters for more of my musings on life and creativity. P.S. I love Instagram - join me there?


  1. Growing up, I didn’t like my name. But, over time it has grown on me. I now appreciate how unique it is. 🙂 By the way, what is your name?

    Mine is Gwendolyn . . . Gwen for short. 🙂

  2. Just stumbled in to your blog. Hope to read more and get to know the writings!
    Talking about names, I’ve always liked my name from a very young age. Partly because I’ve heard my grandmother tell me stories about how much my dad was elated when he first had a daughter & how much he searched around for a name. It’s also because for a long time there were no other girls around (in my school, neighborhood etc) that I shared the name with 🙂

    • That’s beautiful! Our names generally have so much history attached to them, and they become so much a part of who we are, that it is difficult to imagine our identity without our name. I can’t ever think of changing my name! Hope to see you around blogosphere! 🙂

  3. I did change my name, and I’m happy with it. It’s not about identity; it’s about having a name I like, and I don’t wrap it up with who I am or anything like that, but I suppose I could, since I was named after a relative I hated when I was a child. I’m over that, though, and even pretty much over hating my given name, but most people call me Serene now, and I like that fine.

    • That’s an interesting take, too, to not wrap up your name with your identity. Plus, it couldn’t have been easy, growing up, to be named after a relative you didn’t particularly like. I like your name, though, Serene — makes me imagine you as someone who would be able to take most things in her stride! 🙂

  4. Shinjini, I have always liked your name, and wondered if we were pronouncing it correctly. We automatically say “shin-JIN-ee” … do people call you “Jinny” for short? And should it rather be pronounced “SHIN-jin-ee”? I’m so sensitive to people mangling names — with a name that is spelled as if it rhymes with a common girl’s name, people mispronounce my name all the time. I’ve been tempted to change my name to Marnie, but I don’t always feel “ie”y, if you know what I mean. So I stick with Maren.

    • You Autumn and Anna actually surprised me the first time I spoke to you, ’cause you guys pronounced my name just fine! Strangely, though, a lot of Indians have murdered my name by coming up with some really weird pronunciations! Hope I’ve been pronouncing your name correctly all this time! 🙂

  5. Never, I love my name. I am so happy my mom fought to give me the name I have now.

    My grandparents were all set to name me after a goddess 🙂 . I love my surname too, although it’s quite a basic one. Somehow, it’s me, and I never changed it even after marriage

    • I know what you mean about loving your surname too — we’ve grown up with it, gone through school, college & maybe even a couple of jobs with it. I don’t see why we should have to change our surname after marriage! Btw, you’re only the second person I’ve come across who hasn’t changed her surname after marriage — I haven’t changed mine either! 😉

Leave a Reply