International Label Day-a holiday by Rarasaur

When I first read about Rarasaur’s proposed holiday idea, I was not sure what to make of it. I think she’s right that we should hold our identities with pride. The trouble is, I’m not proud of a lot of the labels that have been heaped upon me without my consent. Or at least, there are certain aspects of them that people will assume that are either wrong in my case or that I’m not proud of. X does not always imply Y, but sometimes it’s hard to find people for whom X=/=Y. I am a minority in a minority. (And sometimes I feel so passionately about not-Y that I can’t even deal with other X. Having a little family/personal breakdown here. Please excuse me.)

So I thought of a label that I have chosen, and I have a confession to make.

I am not the Dread Pirate Roberts

My name is not Emma Wolf. I hate my real name. I hate that my real name (first and last) are so common that I’m ungooglable. I don’t want to be unique, but I want to be identifiable. I chose this name because I plan on using it as a pen name (and I don’t hate it) if I ever get my thing published. If you google it, you’ll find me (eventually). But if you google my real name, you’ll find a tennis player, a tap dancer, and a Miss America contestant. I’m not any of those things. I get emails from random people thinking I’m someone they met once. The other day, I was talking to an interpreter with my same real name before we had to meet with a client, and we were bemoaning the fact that everyone and their grandmother had our name. And then I got a call from my client, telling me she was lost. She said she told the security guard she was going to see _______, and the guard told her to go to the fourth floor. We were not on the fourth floor. We were on the twelfth. She was in the wrong building. But she found ______, because there is one in every building. This is what happens when everyone follows naming trends! It’s confusing! So I’m not hiding under Emma Wolf, I’m trying to stand out.

Also, here comes the emo, my sister named me. While my sister and I get along now, this was not always the case. So I don’t know if I didn’t get a long with my sister because I didn’t like my name or if I didn’t like my name because I didn’t get along with my sister.

The ouroboros of sibling rivalry. Picture by Goodwinter.

Basically my whole life I wanted to change my name. So this is the name I have chosen and the label I am wearing today. Happy International Label Day. A parting thought on this joyous holiday:


About emmawolf

I'm a freelance writer living in Baltimore with my husband, son, and two cats. I'm working on editing my first novel. I love reading, traveling, and the cello.
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14 Responses to International Label Day-a holiday by Rarasaur

  1. sj says:

    I will have to come up with something for later today. When I am not drinking.

  2. rarasaur says:

    I love you that you picked a name that suits you. Living in a name that doesn’t fit is as uncomfortable as walking around in shoes that don’t fit. And in both cases, there’s so rarely a reason for it. I love your label choice and the post– thanks again for participating, and Happy Label Day! 😀

    • emmawolf says:

      I know it’s crazy, but whenever I heard my real name, like when people were taking attendance in class, I always imagined people thinking “ewww…who is that?” or something similar. (Yeah, I’m a little paranoid.)

      • rarasaur says:

        My real name is so unpronounceable to non-Indians that when the teacher would read it, I wouldn’t even recognize. Inevitably one of my friends would have to tap me on the shoulder and say, “I think they said your name 3 times.” And then I’d think, “Oh no, everyone in this new class things my name is Radiocchio Clementine” or something awful. It turns out, though, that kids don’t really pay attention to other kids– so probably neither of our fears were warranted. 🙂 *phew*

        • emmawolf says:

          If I recall correctly, in Fariuza Dumas’s book Funny in Farsi she wrote a bit about not recognizing when her “name” was called by people too. I think she wrote about one person pronouncing her last name as “dumb ass.”

  3. Kaoru Negisa says:

    Right there with you. I started using “Kaoru” as a nickname in high school because my friends got tired of calling my name and having four people turn around in any given area. And if you’re trying to create a brand for yourself, you really do need something that’s a little different, at least for your market.

    • emmawolf says:

      I think at some point I should come out to my friends and tell them when they use my name, it’s like nails on a chalk board. How did you broach the subject with your friends?

      • Kaoru Negisa says:

        With my friends it came about rather easily. First two or three of them started using the new name since I had mentioned in conversation how much easier it would be and how appropriate it was (my common, unisex English name became a common, unisex Japanese name, which was remarkably uncommon in Florida). Then, when I introduced myself to other people, I would append, “but my friends call me Kaoru” to the end of it so that new people would be encouraged to do so as well. And since those first two or three did, it was a true statement. Eventually, it grew as I added new friends, old ones faded away, and now only my parents really call me by my birth name.

        So, I would start with supportive friends who would be willing to help you make that change, then have them use “Emma” in conversation with other people like it’s the new thing that all the cool kids are doing, and make sure that you bring new people into your circle knowing you as Emma. You might even want to show them this post, since it lays out your point pretty well.

        At least, that’s what worked for me.

  4. Tracy says:

    Hi Emma, I’m here thnks to rarasaur and International Label Day. I really understand what you’re saying about your name. I got a lot of hassle over mine but over time it’s grown on me (or maybe I’m jst too lazy to think about it anymore). I like Emma Wolf, sounds classy and unusual so I hope to see it published someday soon

  5. socalmark says:

    Great blog! I do have a “google-able” name, but unfortunately someone with a very different lifestyle than mine has been prolific on the internet. When folks search my real name they’ll find my LinkedIn and FB profiles, maybe references to some older speaking engagements/publications, but mostly another dude’s very distinct stuff. Anyway, your writing style is wonderful. Cheers!

  6. Pingback: International Label Day 2013 | rarasaur

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