I’ve found myself with an impromptu afternoon off thanks to the kindness of work, who released us back into the wild at 2pm today.
I can’t lie, I was moving stacks of unimportant paper from one side of my desk to the other in a bid to look busy and hadn’t the strength to complete a whole day of faux-productivity.
So, here I am in front of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, back in pajamas with some unexpected time on my hands. I did pick up Lena for a wee while but she wasn’t quite doing it for me.
So blogging it is. It’s a few days before the new year rings in and I’m feeling okay about that. Naturally, this late in proceedings it is typical to be reflective.
Usually to have a ponderous scratch of the head and review what you didn’t manage to achieve despite all good intention; more likely to set up the next in-depth list of goals for the fresh snowy carpet of the new year ahead.
I will probably do that before the witching hour comes on the 31st but not yet. I must have a good think about what I really want to put myself through first.
Instead, I will tell you about the Christmas present I bought myself. The calm before the storm seems a good time to mention it.
I bought myself a name. And with this new name, comes great responsibility.
When I was born, my mother didn’t name me for three weeks. She rolls this anecdote out on the reg and I can’t decide if I think it’s a bit upsetting, or that it’s the coolest thing ever. I am leaning toward the latter. She maintains that they were waiting for my personality to manifest itself before they labelled me forever with a moniker that didn’t fit.
I almost had a name that puts me in mind of a Russian spy, and again I can’t be sure how I feel about that. Perhaps by not having the name Natasha, my career with MI5 was snipped even before it began.
It took me a long time to come to terms with my name. It’s just unusual enough to be messed up all the time by anyone using it. I am constantly referred to as ‘Christine’, ‘Chrissy’, ‘Christina’ – even ‘Christopher’. It seems now that I have spent most of my life ‘coming to terms’ with my name, my hair, my body.
I guess that’s the life line of self acceptance for most, though.
So, at last I am on good terms with my christian name and even I can concede that it suits me. The ‘How I Got My Name’ story is rounded up nicely with the admission that I was named after my father’s ex-girlfriend. I just hope she was awesome and cool.
My point is, there’s a story behind the birth of my name but it’s not really mine, though I am the leading lady. All discussion was made without my input. Granted, I was too busy crapping myself in the background to be much use to anybody but I’ve been thinking for a while about the subject of identity and it has led me here, to take control of mine.
I have a middle name already and I have never loved it. As far as I know one of my parents must have liked it and threw it in. I don’t think it’s a reference to anything or anyone, I may be wrong.
I wanted to choose my own name, without changing what I already had. I’m well over 30 now and wouldn’t be so rude or ungrateful as to take what is part of me and reshape it completely. But there are no rules about adding things, right? – and so I now proudly sport another middle name, which isn’t really in the middle now. My penultimate name?
Dolores, Dolores, Dolores.
Sounds good doesn’t it? I like saying it. Lest you think I decided upon this gorgeous name on a whim, I must assure you that it has been in my life for over six years. Its conception is one of my happiest memories and I realise as I type this that it will probably sound even sillier said out loud. Yet, somehow, I don’t care.
Dolores began as just an idea. Back in Vancouver, stacking pastries on an early morning shift at a well-known coffee joint where I had just started as a shift supervisor, I was uninspired and so tired I was close to tears.
The store was new to me and I was on one of my first shifts with David, whom I hadn’t yet had a full conversation with. Somehow, and I would give anything to go back to this morning and watch it back, we started making up a story about an eccentric woman and her fabulous best friend, who lived together in England and got into hilarious scenarios at all times.
I know, original right? I like to think of the tone as Jilly Cooper meets Enid Blyton meets Oscar Wilde.
Once it became apparent that David and I shared the exact same amount of imagination, our story was all we’d discuss and many, many blissful hours were spent drinking coffee and carefully sculpting our characters into the people we wanted them to be. When it came to naming our beloved anti-heroes, I found it easy.
Dolores Schnell was of Hungarian descent and loosely based on a fabulous customer of the same origin, who would come in to buy coffee, swear a lot and loved the very bones of me. Dolores was an old school name that seemed timeless and so it stuck.
Her pal became Tarquin, after we decided he was somewhat of a dandy with a public school background. Tarquin Du Champ, the handsomest, most charming romantic on the block.
I have never given up on the dreams of Dolores and Tarquin; one day their story will be recorded somewhere other than in our heads. But until then, I chose to carry Dolores with me (and also David) wherever I go.
Dolores feels like part of me, my braver alter-ego; my Sasha Fierce.
I think 2015 is going to be much more of a Dolores year, with less worrying about the things I can’t control. Dolores would not be one to spend her time fretting about annoying bosses, lack of funds or bad skin.
I can’t wait to bring her out to play.