In my Moral Theology course my junior year, the professor asked one day in class if any of the students was a Lord of the Rings fan. He was one of those highly intelligent, obscure people - everything he said had a point, but we couldn't always figure out what it was.
The Lord of the Rings thing must have been going somewhere, but we all sat dumbly, none of us apparently enough of a fan to leap out of his chair and declare it. There was a long silence that was probably only about four seconds. Then Mark, who was the most likely to help the teacher because he's the kind of person who helps everyone, raised his hand. "I'm a fan."
Luke, who's the kind of person who mocks everyone, jumped on him immediately. (I'm making this sound like an uncomfortable scene, but it really wasn't - about a dozen of us in a seminar form, and we all got along fine.) (I also want to note that Mark and Luke are their real names, and there was also a John in the class, and the prof's first name was Matthew. Catholic parents are not necessarily creative in naming their children.)
Anyway, Luke looks at Mark and says mockingly, "Oh, you just loooove Lord of the Rings, don't you? What are you going to do, name your kids after characters from the book?"
The protest came out louder than I expected, before I could stop it. "Hey!"
And everyone looked at me, and at Luke, and laughed, because there was nothing else to do. Later I teased him, "You know what I think is really stupid? Those parents who name their children after the writers of the Gospels."
After your responses to my anniversary post, which made me smile, blush, laugh, and cry, I wanted to give something back to you. You were all so generous, and I hadn't even realized how much I needed it, but I did.
I'm not stingy with myself here; I share a whole lot of my fears and joys. But there is one thing I've kept from you, and I although I can remember why I decided to keep it from you in the first place, I can no longer think of a good reason to keep doing so.
Some of you already know, or have guessed. The rest of you, if you read the above story carefully, have hopefully guessed just now.
So hey, glad to meet you. Feel free to ask me why my parents gave me such a weird name. Feel free to try to come up with a nickname for what I have come to realize is an eminently un-nickable name. Feel free, even, to call me "Earwig" as one boy did years ago in an attempt to nickname me. Just don't keep it up for too long, or I might have to revert to making you all call me by my middle name. And I don't want to do that - my name is a big part of who I am, and I've missed using it here.
This post has brought up a few questions which I want to answer, quick-like:
1) Arwen is my real first name. Elizabeth is my middle name; my full name is Arwen Elizabeth LastName. That makes my blog's name look not so creative after all, doesn't it?
2) In real life, I always go by Arwen. Always have. And actually, I've always loved having a unique name.
3) My siblings are not really named Rosie, Maggie, etc. In fact, my husband is not even named Michael. The names I use for family members on the blog are variations on their middle names or confirmation names. With my siblings, I do this because their names are all very unique and Google-able; with my husband I do it just for kicks. I generally use the real names of everyone else I write about here. Including, from now on, my own.