Drabbles

What’s in a Name?

Inspired by “My Name” by Sandra Cisneros.

Madison. It means son of Madi, but who exactly is Madi? And just who, on that note, am I? There’s approximately four thousand eight hundred and four people in the U.S. alone named Madison, and about twenty named Madison Miller. What differentiates me from the rest?

On top of that, I share my name with a radio host and a former president. Good company, I guess. Interesting, too, considering that I’m majoring in both Marketing Communications and Political Science. I wonder if my namesakes would approve?

My parents claim that the name Madison wasn’t trendy yet when they named me, which would have made them hipsters before hipsters were even a thing, but I don’t believe them. Not when I’ve shared classes with so many girls my age with whom I also share a name.

The name Madison just screams masculinity. Fitting, perhaps, since a woman can do anything a man can do, and since I’ve grown to be  as assertive as a man, as aggressive, and as loud.

Still, I’d prefer something softer to round out my edges, to make those traits seem endearing, even charming. A name, in short, that will make me a wolf in sheep’s clothing; just like how I like to pair blazers with dresses, looking both powerful and cute, or how I draw power from the color purple,  which is both powerful and pretty. So, I ask my friends to call me Maddie.

Maddie is spunky, and makes all the same traits from above seem spirited instead of abrasive. It’s all about framing, I’ve learned. On top of that, people don’t pronounce it wrong. The don’t call me Madi-SIN instead of Madi-SON, a mix up that makes me feel sinful, unclean, and dirty.

I’ve been told that my parents considered naming me Alexis – and while that sounds too close to the car, and I would have been complaining even then, since I’d have preferred Alexandra (which carries a sort of regal strength that plain ol’ Madison never will) – sometimes I find myself pining for the name that almost was. I could have gone by Lex, like the supervillain, thereby masking my strength behind a reference that only those familiar with comics would get.

Even so, I must admit that Madison has a nice ring to it. It pairs better with Miller, my surname, allowing for an alliteration that Alexandra would not have. It’s perfect in that regard, almost to the point of sounding contrived (which, I suppose, in a way it was), like a pseudonym, or a comic book character. This means it’s also a suitable name for a writer and (hopefully!) it will make for a nice byline one day, ensuring that my name is remembered.

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