A Rose by Any Other Name…

The topic of this week’s Weekly Writing Challenge is the power of names. I can’t think of a better opportunity to formerly introduce myself.

I’m Adelie.

Well…not quite. See, my true name is extremely rare. For instance, back when I worked at a grocery store, donning a name badge every day, I was frequently asked in what country I was born. It freaked me out at first, but then I embraced it, asking customers for their best guesses. They almost always suspected me to be Scandinavian…can’t imagine why 🙂

There were also a couple of instances in my childhood when, at the beginning of a school year, new classmates actually asked me if I was a foreign exchange student. Suffice it to say, if I went by my first or last name, I would be easily identifiable. I know what you’re thinking, but no. My parents never gave me a middle name, so that’s not an option either.

Funny story about that. In the beginning of third grade, my teacher actually pulled me out in the hallway and gave me a stern talking to. See, I didn’t put my middle name on my vocabulary test. This woman was convinced I was lying about not having one, that I was just being some unruly child. Though, I was an extremely shy, obedient child, so I didn’t argue with her. This resulted in several tears before she told me to get my act together. It was a traumatizing moment back then, but now I find it rather amusing. Especially being that I’ve met a few people since then who do not have middle names either.

Before I go further, I want to explain that I use a pseudonym as a way to protect my family’s privacy, as well as my own. Being that I’m not in my dream occupation and acknowledge the possibility of switching fields, I don’t want potential employers finding my blog while digging into my history and references. It’s not that I’m ashamed of anything I write here. The fact of the matter is that I can’t authentically write as myself  if the account is in my actual name. Kind of ironic, huh? Another truth is that I’m an introvert, and I’m much more forthcoming with all of you here than I ever would be in person. In the future, I will decide to disclose a few personal details about me that I wouldn’t share with just anyone. Now, don’t you feel special? 🙂

I struggled with picking an alternate name because I felt like a liar. Honesty is my highest value, both with myself and others, so fibbing about my name didn’t sit well for a while…until I became more acquainted with the blogging world. Truth is, I’m definitely not the first anonymous writer, nor will I be the last. It’s not that I don’t trust you all, it’s simply that in order to truly write as myself, I have to change this simple identifier.

So, why Adelie?

Well, I’m extremely thorough in choosing names, based on their meanings, associations, origins, and popularity. I’m sure most authors are as well. It took me a few weeks to discover Adelie, but the second I found the name, I knew it was the perfect fit. I love using symbolism with flowers, elements, deities, and  especially animals. And well, one day I came across this:

Adélie Penguin

Yes. I did, in fact, name myself after a penguin. Along from the Adélie penguin being perfectly adorable, they’re quite interesting creatures. In the British Antarctic Expedition 1910, those who had frequent interactions with the penguins described them as extremely curious and bold, to the point where they are actually hazardous to their own safety.

Granted, I did not chose the Adélie because we have a striking resemblance. While I am similarly curious by nature, the word “bold” does not describe me in the slightest. On that same note, I’m extremely concerned with safety, not only of myself but the safety of those around me as well.  In all seriousness, my concern with safety borders on the lines of OCD and neuroticism. Back to the point, Adelie!

My belief is that there’s always something to learn from other creatures. So, maybe if I strike a middleground between myself and the Adélie, I might be able to pursue my curiosity more thoroughly, with fewer self-imposed barriers. Though, I’m definitely not as skilled a swimmer as the Adélie, so I’ll probably wear a lifejacket and carry a whistle.

With curiosity and subtlety,





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44 thoughts on “A Rose by Any Other Name…

    • I am sincerely grateful that you visited my blog, Fred. You do have a very unique name! I’m so excited that you introduced yourself and gave me the opportunity to visit your blog. Though, please don’t leave any paw prints behind here. I have enough trouble cleaning up after my beagle and husky 😀


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  3. fascinating and I do understand the need for some to keep their privacy for any number of reasons. I think I’m past all shame but hey you never know I’m sure fate has plenty of things in store that could lead me to social media shame. Really enjoyed this post and look forward to reading others.


    • I’m so grateful that you stopped by and gave such a thoughtful comment. Who knows what fate has in store for us. Though, on the upside, social media shame is often short lived. I just prefer to play it safe. 🙂 I truly enjoy your writing as well! Thanks again!


    • Thank you so much for reading and for the thoughtful reply. As I chose my title, the theme of a particular scene in “Romeo and Juliet” came to mind, basically being that the name of a particular person (or anything, really) doesn’t determine his/her/its qualities. Though, now I think of it, I’m guilty for attaching/predicting personality traits to a specific names. For example, whenever I’ve met a Jacqueline, they tend to be whimsical and down-to-earth. I apologize for the tangent, but I am sincerely grateful for your support, and I very much enjoyed your entertaining and informative piece, Miss Mary!


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  8. Love it! I always look forward to your posts. I grew up with the most common name ever – and was forced to alllways use my last initial in class. There are both Pros & Cons to common vs. uncommon names though, I suppose! I love the story & reasoning behind your writing self’s name. I think you’ve already found that middleground quite beautifully. It’s wonderful what can come out of fingers but not mouths. Thoughts on paper that we’d (as a blogging community) not vocalize verbally but share with many in our own form.


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  17. Shame on the teacher for bullying you over not having a second name. My brother-in-law doesn’t have a middle name. I’m grateful however, to have a middle name as I found hundreds of women with my name on social media and had to consequently use my second name to distinguish myself from the hoards. I enjoyed reading your post Adelie.


    • Thank you so much for reading and for your thoughtful comment. I can definitely see the benefit of having a middle name from your standpoint. I actually thought of giving myself a middle name when I changed my name after getting married. Though, I thought it might make my parents feel bad, like I wasn’t appreciative of their effort in giving me a name! Also, I had survived 21 years without one, so I decided to just keep it simple. Thanks again for your kind words!



  19. My mother and my aunt don’t have middle names. I always envied them because it seems like a rare thing to not have a middle name and i wanted a rare thing. Lol. To make matters worse, I don’t like my middle name :(. Great choice though; I think Adelie is a beautiful name 🙂


    • Hello, Wellie! Thanks for reading and for leaving such a thoughtful comment. There are benefits and downsides to having a unique name. I felt like I didn’t fit in growing up. I sometimes tried to give myself a middle name- didn’t work. Now though, I appreciate it more because it’s less to write on legal forms! Though I don’t know your middle name, I’m sure it isn’t nearly as dreadful as you might think. Nearly everyone I’ve met dislikes their middle names. I suppose it’s better than hating your first name! I really like your name here. It’s unique, short, and sweet. It seems very upbeat and fitting for your writing! Thanks so much for sharing! 😀


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