Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Names and Symbols, Draft

To any Brinton that may read this post, and to Trevor Cook: please pardon the poor punctuation of this post. (Although the alliteration is awesome, as always).

Many people I know find that "pet names," or nicknames, or shortened versions of names, are signs of friendship, familiarity, and closeness (in our society, they are).

I've found that as I grow closer to people outside of my immediate family, I am more likely to use their full name, or their proper title. For example, my friend went by Ben most of the time, but as we got closer, I found myself calling him "Benjamin," "Ben Jones," or, later, "Elder Benjamin Wesley Jones" (that was only when I got really excited). At the time, I thought it was an isolated incident, but lately I've retrospectively noticed a pattern. A boy I liked/dated in high school went by a nickname, but as our relationship developed I began to call him by his first name. I did the same with friends. Names like "Matt," "Andy," "Steve," and "Joe" become Matthew, Andrew, Stephen, and Joseph.

This habit extends to Church leaders. I had some leaders in Young Women's that wanted to be called Jo-Jo and Beth. I continued to call them Sister So-and-So and Sister So-and-So. I think they were annoyed that I alone refused to call them the fun/friendly/buddy-buddy names, but in my mind it was a sign of respect. When they were no longer my YW leaders, I was much more comfortable calling them by their first names (however, I do not use pet names like Jo-Jo). The same thing happened with a leader in a later ward; she informed us that many of the ward called her "Momma J." I have never used it; I have a mother and she does a fantastic job at it, thank you.

The only exception I've found to this rule, which may seem contrary to the previous example, are girls and women that I consider close enough to be sisters or beloved aunts. The Wright family is a perfect example; I have no problems calling Eliza "EJ," or Sister Wright "Momma Wright." (Not sure why 'Momma Wright' and 'Momma J' feel so different to me. Perhaps Momma Wright feels more like a title than a nickname. "Momma J" is still a shortened version of the woman's name. I don't know).

This being explained, I feel I should mention: I was rarely referred to by my full ("real") name growing up. I was "Bina," "Saber," "Savvy," "BB," "Michelle," , "Bean," "Beaner," "Mom" (that was my band director), and various other things, but rarely was I referred to as "Sabina." Even my teachers rarely said my name. I suppose I got to feeling like these nicknames were all parts of who I was, but that was all-- just part. No one know totally who I was. I would start a little when people used my real name--get kind of a deer-in-headlights feeling. It's not like it was a secret--everyone knew my name-- people simply rarely used it.

I've been thinking about the importance of names a lot recently. I do realize my habit is nearly exactly opposite of society's commonplace, and sometimes I feel like it confuses people.

For example: There is a boy that I like a lot; we've been getting to know each other better recently, and, accordingly, I've taken to using his full name consistently. (He sometimes goes by a shortened version, sometimes not; he doesn't really care). The other day, though, he called me "Bina." It was kind of odd. For a moment, I kind of bristled (in an "I am NOT your little sister, thank you very much!" sort of way), but then I looked at him and realized he didn't mean it that way at all (duh). In his mind, it's a sign of closeness and friendship and all that. I initially saw it as patronizing. That got me thinking about the importance of a given name (more on surnames later) and prompted this blog post. I realize that my attitude, while not unique, is not exactly society's precedent. I don't think it should be. I simply recognize it as a quirk that I have.

The aforementioned incident also made me realize how important it is to try to see a situation from the other person's eyes. I easily could have let my minor bristle become an irritation, and let that fester into a serious chip on my shoulder, and that poor boy would be left utterly clueless as to what had me irked. But we were seeing totally opposite sides of a coin. He saw the nickname as a sign that we were close enough to use them; I saw it as patronizing. But really-- whose quirk was it, anyway? Mine, of course. Completely. And as soon as I realized that (thankfully, it was very quickly), I realized something else--

I kind of liked that he called me Bina.

Strange, isn't it? Seeing something for what it is ACTUALLY saying. I like the nickname because of what it means to HIM, not to me. That's one of the troubles with language: words are symbols. Sometimes, we think that because we are using the same words that we are saying the same thing. Not so. So I needed to take a step back and remember three very important conversation/relational questions:

Okay, what is it that we're REALLY saying?
What is it that we're actually hearing?
and, most important: "Whose quirk is it, anyway?"
Sometimes, ordering thoughts out is difficult.

Sometimes, I think our society is a little backward.

Sometimes, I wish I could read minds.
And other times I'm glad I don't.

Sometimes, nothing quite hits the spot like the smell and the feel
of a freshly-sharpened, hard-wood, #2 pencil.

Sometimes, words can't quite express the right emotion.

Sometimes, I wish people all spoke the same language.
But usually, I'm glad we don't.

Sometimes, silly things make me laugh.

Sometimes, I pretend like I'm bored
but really, I just don't want to do the things I need to.

Sometimes, I fret about things,
but usually it's because I'm avoiding other problems.

Sometimes, I write strange pseudo-poetic blog posts while I'm waiting for my
audio-book to load on my computer.

Sometimes I'm too tired to sleep.
and other times, I'm too tired to be awake.


I am loving making my own living space. I was finally able to sort through much of my STUFF, and now have significantly less STUFF, and I'm LOVING it! I feel so much more organized, even though the room isn't totally put together yet. I'm excited for school to start. Turns out, I'm back in a Linguistics class, which, while unexpected, makes me SO HAPPY. I'm so glad to be almost finished with my minor! Not even close with my major, but I love linguistics and Ling330 will be tons of fun. It'll make for a busy semester, but the Pell Grant requirements have spoken: 15 credits. So. I can do it. In order to keep room in my schedule for working out, sleeping, and "friends" (read: guy), I'll have to be uber-organized. I love the school year, and I love the feeling of creating a new start. Many a missionary friend coming home this semester, and life is moving forward. Lots to ponder: take time to just breathe.

And eat tasty, healthy, delicious food. It's good for the soul.

Love, Sabs

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I'm Out...I'M BACK!

So, life has been crazy the last month or so...okay, month and a half or so...but, in my defense, it's been busy.

Since I last posted, I've thrown one bridal shower, helped with two weddings, crushed on a boy, hosted my sister and her baby, hosted my mom-other sister-brother part of the family, been to another wedding, ran pre-season practice for the plates, watched half a season of Heroes and the ENTIRE "Avatar: The Last Airbender" anime series, re-designed/sorted/fixed my wardrobe (well, almost done with that), sorted a bunch of stuff, nearly finished a finance class (I had a cute tutor...that's pretty much the only reason I am doing well in the class), started another class, got all caught up in the Wheel of Time series, crocheted a bunch of stuff, worked at the Creamery, bought my textbooks, started packing to go back to Provo, and gone to a mini-family reunion.

Plus a bunch of other random stuff. Busy, but not a whole lot to actually write about.

When I get my pictures all sorted out, I'll post some of the weddings and (I hope) a step-by-step on a centerpiece or two.

In one week, I will be back in Provo (at La Casa Picante), getting ready for marching band in earnest and doing final prep for Band Camp and school. And working. And able to walk to campus (so happy to leave the 3-mile-to-the-bus-stop walk). Also, I will have roommates. And boy(s) living within a 1-block radius. It's been an interesting (SHORT!) summer, but I'm excited for the challenge of living my own life. I can do it! I've made some discoveries about myself and attempted some lifestyle/attitude changes this summer; we'll see how well I can make it work during the pressure of the school year. I have awesome friends-- I'm sure we can make it happen! :-)