One of the most important things that has happened tome occurred long before I was aware of it. As the story goes, I was three daysold and Mom was singing "The Name Game" song to me:"Christine-Bo-Bean-Banana-Fanna-Fo-Feen." By day four, I was given anew name - Chris-tine-Bo-Bean, or just Bo-Bee to my mother. Now, I am Bo to herand close friends.
Why is this nickname so important to me? When I was 12years old, I read a book called "Wizards Hall," with a passage aboutTrue Names which explains that when a person's true name is spoken, she has adistinct aura around her. Although I have been Bo to my mother all my life, Irecently discovered that my true name is not on my birth certificate; it's thename that is as unique and memorable as I am.
Aunts, uncles, grandparentsand people from school and work know me as Christine. They still see me as aquiet, chubby-cheeked, bookish child. They don't know who I am now. My mostrecent hopes, fears, goals, dreams and opinions escape their notice; it is easierto think of me as I was. In their minds, they have a box labeled"Christine" in which I fit neatly, and as Christine, I was content withthe perfect packaging.
Those who call me Bo, Bo-Bee or the elegant BeauBoix really know me. They remember who I was and realize I have changed. Bo is atight squeeze in the old "Christine" boxes. The Bo I am isever-changing, ever-growing and ever-learning.
When I was Christine, I wasquiet, scared and easily intimidated. I feared groups, meeting new people andsharing my opinions. I was more comfortable with a book than my best friend. AsChristine, I thought everyone was better than I was.
As Bo, I still lovemy books, but now I want to discuss them. As Bo, my dream is to live in a citywhere I can experience new things and meet new people every day. I dream aboutbeing alone on a stage lit by a single spotlight; I have that confidence now. Iam equal to those I once saw as better than me.
A name shouldn't make sucha difference, but sometimes, when a person finds his or her True Name, theydevelop a new shine visible to friends, family and especiallythemselves.
I can't always be Bo. Sometimes exposing myself is still scaryand I feel too vulnerable; I want to hide in those old boxes. Mostly, however, Iam ready for change ... I am ready for the world. So, just call me Bo.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.