My name is Katherine, never anything less. Not Katie, not Kate, and never Kathy. Spit it out – all nine letters, three syllables, one word. No massacre today, I beg of you. Stop butchering and stitching on letters that never were meant to be engraved on my headstone. Death of the name, death of a person – don’t you know?
The first day of class or work, you’re always asked what nickname you go by. You tell them you use just your name and their surprise overtakes them and they want to know why-
My mother named me Katherine, and that’s how it will stay.
Katherine means pure. That’s now why she named me. She’s no stickler for the rules or any religious ambitions –recovering catholic, rather. She had a simple love affair with the name – I gave her the opportunity she long craved. My name’s meaning sits hunched on my back, kneading and pressing into my spin creating a knot of discomfort. Twisting and turning, wiggling and waggling. Drilling through the air to work the way to my bones. Instead, it bounces off my skin. Nonchalant, not caring – what’s in the meaning of a name anyway? I make what I am, no oxford dictionary can. I don’t think I live up to it. I cheat, I lie, I’ve been less than kind. Pure I am not, but person I am.
My name is the first thing a stranger knows about me but they soon forget. Their eyes linger longer than their minds, few pay attention. I don’t mind – those who matter know when to make it stick. It’s not always their fault, my name is common place, common property, commonly found. Katherine Elizabeth Lewis. Someone with that exact name lived three houses down from me, the wrong one accidently called to the principal’s office in the fourth grade. In a too-tight bun and squeaky tennis shoes on my feet, they shooed me away at their mistake. The “wrong” Katherine I’ve been more than once – mistakenly fielded phone calls, texts, emails, waves aimed in the same direction as I. The right Katherine for those who matter – all my friends say they could never imagine me as a Katie, Kate, and certainly not Kathy – god forbid –
And that’s how it will stay.