I didn’t meet another Brianna until I was 17. It just wasn’t a common name when I was growing up. Brianne, yes. Brianna not so much. But even though it wasn’t popular, it was easy to rhyme. I quickly earned the neighbourhood nickname Brianna Banana. There was even a song for it. And since I can’t convey tune through my writing, just imagine a bunch of 7 and 8 year olds in a taunting voice : “Brianna Banana, Brianna Banana, Brianna Ba-na-na-naaaa”. Kids can really be jerks sometimes.
Most days I laughed and just brushed it off. But every so often I’d run off the bus trying to hide my sobs in the hood of my jacket. I daydreamed about the day I could legally change my name. I waffled back and forth between Jane or Lindsay. I was positive that nothing could rhyme with either of them. Or be nearly as bad as Brianna Banana. I counted the days until I could be someone new.
As time went on, the neighbourhood kids found something new to focus on and I lost the drive to one day change my name. When Ewan and I started daydreaming of names for our babies we knew we wanted something strong. Beautiful. Traditional. We believe that children grow into their names. And Rachel and Sarah Elizabeth were easy choices.
And while our girls are still young, I hope we chose names that they grow into well as they get older. And ones that are a bit more difficult to rhyme with than mine was. But most of all, I hope they are strong enough to brush it off when the nicknames do come (and they will). Because kids will always be jerks, after all. One day when they are older and it happens to them for the first time I will sing them the song from my childhood. I hope they’ll be able to find comfort in hearing that it happened to me too. Know that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. And that we all survive. Even Brianna Banana.
- Brianna (photos by Ewan)