A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but if her name was Rose, and you kept calling her Lily, she’d probably feel confused…
My whole life, my name has felt foreign to me. It may seem like a small thing. And with all of the challenges I’ve dealt with, it has definitely been a back burner item. But it’s plagued me in a subtle, nagging and unsettling way my entire life. It’s been akin to the feeling of wearing someone else’s shoes. Even if they’re the right size. Even if logic tells you they fit. They just don’t feel…like yours.
Last winter, after having spent several months on another soul’s journey of discovery, healing and integration, I was walking in the woods (a daily and necessary activity for me). It was then, that I heard, and saw with my mind’s eye, the name Tarin (pronounced “tare-in”). It wasn’t a name with which I was familiar, but it immediately felt like mine. I wandered among the trees and came to feel that it was the name that the angels had whispered into my parents’ ears before I was born. It was the name that I was meant to be called.
In a way, this made sense. My parents named me Katharine. As you can see, they chose to spell it differently. And throughout my life, at least half of the people I have encountered, have also pronounced it differently than the more common Katherine. I often hear “kath-arr-reen” or “kath-ah-rinn.” Or occasionally, “kath-arr-reen-ah,” which is technically the correct (German) pronunciation of this variation. (Maybe this is part of why the sound of Tarin feels so familiar to me.) My parents however, never intended this. And I know they didn’t intend for 99.98% of the time to have my name misspelled (even the IRS can’t get it right).
I believe they did what they could with the name for me that was downloaded into their consciousnesses. They are not the type to have “saddled” their child with a truly “odd” or super unique name. So my parents did their best. Growing up, it was no mystery that I was deeply unhappy with my name. I began campaigning while still in single digits to have my name legally changed. Not until I was an adult did my Mom tell me that she had actually come close to letting me do this because she believed and could see that I was genuinely miserable.
I wandered among the trees and came to feel that it was the name that the angels had whispered into my parents’ ears before I was born.
It was the name that I was meant to be called.
For those of you who have followed me since I became active on social media, I first introduced myself as Cassie – a name I quite like. Cassie is a traditional nickname for Katharine and I have heard that it existed before the name Cassandra did (something I’ve had to explain many, many times to people who don’t get why that’s the name by which I go). I grew up as Katie (a name, since adulthood, that few have dared to call me twice ). Some women can pull off Katie. More power to them. But I am not one of them. So by the time I was 12 I had transitioned fully to Kate. I didn’t like it, but it was an improvement. I think I’ve been through every nickname for Katharine (some willingly and some against my will) and every variant spelling of said nicknames. None of them have stuck. None of them have felt right. Because none of them had been mine.
After my Tarin epiphany/Divine gift, I began to take the steps to change my name. Ironically, it turns out that I’m not the only one who felt/thought that Tarin would make a good nickname for someone named Katharine, so I discovered that it’s already in use in that manner.
But once I started to take the steps, I immediately backed away. It was too different, too big of a change for me and everyone I knew. Or so I told myself. So I compromised with myself and decided to go from Cassie back to Cayte. It was an easy transition. And I thought that if I spelled it differently from the Kate I used to call myself, that it would feel different. That it could become mine. But I was wrong. Not a single person that I’ve meant has once pronounced it correctly, as Kate. Worse yet, not a single person has even questioned how to pronounce it. Everyone has just said “Hi Katie!” This was so not the point of going back to Cayte…
And so recently, as I was falling asleep, I started to feel that this fear of change, this fear of embracing my true self and identity was holding me back. In that moment, I felt Tarin come home to my soul.
But why was I so afraid to make this change? I was afraid that people would judge me. I was afraid that they would think I was flaky or unstable, or worse, a very rude word, “crazy.” I was afraid that they would think I was a fraud. I mean, someone that grew up with a cool name like Tarin would undoubtedly be way cooler than someone who had been called Katie for years. Tarin is the name of someone that is confident, self-assured and secure.
Then I realized that I had worked really hard to become those things – regardless of my name. And if people didn’t like me changing my name, if they thought I was flaky or lost, then that said a lot more about them than it did me. I knew in my heart in that moment of realization that I was Tarin. That was my name. I was home. For whatever reason, Spirit had really made me wait for it, and work for it, and embrace it of my own free will. And all of the attributes that I had assigned to the name had not so much to do with the name, as they had to do with me. Changing my name wasn’t about changing myself, it was about being myself.
And so I’ve finally heeded the call of my name. I finally accepted from Spirit that which was mine all along.
I share this story with you here, to let you know that I have decided to embrace what was meant for me. I have decided to welcome another part of my soul home. And I love all people, but I don’t care if anyone judges me, because I do way more…”unique” things than changing my name that they were probably going to judge, or already had judged, me for anyway.
If there’s something that you feel is out there waiting for you. Something just for you. Something meant for you, whether it’s a new name, a new job or livelihood, a new town to live in or a new relationship. I offer to lend you this small light that I have lit for myself, this small flicker of bravery, so that you may light the path to go out there and embrace yourself. Because there is nothing more beautiful, powerful or admirable than finding the courage to be true to yourself.
So, “Hi, I’m Tarin. It’s so nice to meet you…”
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