Thursday, June 21, 2018

My Name

Question: What inspired your name? Were you named after anyone in particular?

Answer: My parents are movie people. I get my amazing taste in movies from them. As such, I am named after an actress. Not necessarily because they think she was the most amazing actress of her day, but because when they watched the show, they liked the name of both the actress and the character she played. I am named after Lindsay Wagner when she played a character named Jaime Summers in Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman, my sister's name. My parents decided to change the spelling of both names.

My middle name comes from my grandma Connie Rae Searle/Burton, whom I have never met. I cherish this name the most, and can't seem to part with it. There are varying feelings about what happened the day my grandma passed away when my mom was 9 - a lot of hurt, a lot of questions, a lot of 'what ifs' or 'if only's'.

This isn't my history with Connie. My history is knowing about an amazing woman through the eyes of my 9-year old mom.

I recently started watching our family movies, and had a chance to watch as grandma danced the percolator, giggling and laughing. Then it cuts to a scene at the beach with all the kids running around and grandma smiling and laughing. That is the woman my mom remembers. My mom also recalled how her mom would let them do 'experiments' in the kitchen. Messes were no matter. My mom said, "Mom loved being a mom and wanted her kids to experience everything they could, and to be kids....she was never really allowed to be a kid growing up."

I still get to hear little pieces of my grandma's history. I remember first hearing about her intentional drug overdose and not really understanding. I was so young but remember hearing the word 'suicide'. With my limited understanding, I made judgements and only equated her life with the memory of her unfortunate death - which was 'bad'. I don't recall exactly the moment where this woman became my hero. Perhaps it was in my sad moments and finally being able to concretely empathize with people who have a constant sadness...because I felt it. Perhaps it was when I attended a funeral of a friend who took their life. Perhaps it was when I heard a beautiful conference talks addressing similar matters and other matters of the sad heart. All I know - my tune has changed.

Regardless, I have come to so thoroughly love this woman I have never met, and feel like the memory of her life is not tragic, but complicated and beautiful. Stories of her life has allowed me to comprehend and recognize people for the good they bring to the world. 

Perhaps this is a sugar-coated view of what could be viewed as true tragedy, but - in quoting from Smallville (my current Hulu-binge) - "I prefer to seek the good in people." 

And that is why my middle name stays, and why it will also be the namesake for my first little girl. The hope is that she too will be able to carry this on, if she chooses.

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