I was at a party the other day, working the room like I tend to do. “Hi, I’m Darlene. And you are…?”
I’ve never been a fan of my name. Most of my life I was always mistakenly called Danielle or Denise. They knew it started with a D but I guess Darlene just wasn’t memorable enough. So I would be renamed-but never nicknamed.
I always wanted a really cool nickname, but there isn’t a naturally shortened version of Darlene. Both ‘Dar’ and ‘Lene’ feel incomplete. ‘Dee’ just doesn’t seem to fit me. Maybe its too simple and I’m too complicated. I’m not sure. But Darlene always felt like an old person’s name to me. The only other Darlene I knew when I was young, was my Aunt, who was grown. But I was actually named after a young person, a tv character-Darlene from The Mickey Mouse Club in the 1950’s, played by Darlene Gillespie. My mom thought her name was just ‘darling’. But here I was, born 20 years later when noone under 30 got the reference, so my name was often forgotten.
Maybe that is why I work so hard to remember names, (though now I have my own aged Darlene brain to contend with making it more challenging than before.) As I mix and mingle with 14 Amy’s, 8 Jen’s, and 22 Laurie’s, I wonder how they feel about their names? One of the Jens I meet tells me her mom’s name is Darlene. (Yes, that sounds about right, I think to myself.) And while I’m still not necessarily a fan of my name, I’m mostly comfortable with who this Darlene has become: friendly and charismatic, one who rarely forgets a name, and can strike up a conversation with anyone. Mickey Mouse would be proud!
Comment your thoughts about your name below.