When I get older, I’m changing my name to Stephanie. – Tiny Taylor, age 7
When I was little, I went through a period where I wanted to be Stephanie. I have no idea now why, but I think it had something to do with sharing a name with a naughty boy in my preschool class. Boy Taylor always jumped off the swings when he wasn’t supposed to, and as a staunch rule-follower, I was disgusted. I was not about sharing a name with a smelly boy who couldn’t even follow the rules. Still not sure why I chose Stephanie.
As I got older, I came out of the name change phase. I didn’t have any problem being Taylor. But I became fascinated with the origins and meanings of names. I looked up everybody’s first names, last names, middle names too. I think I viewed it as some sort of fortune-telling method, like the meaning of my name would somehow correlate with my future self.
Taylor: from tailor, or a person who sews clothes
Yates: Dutch origin; gatekeeper
According to my name, I should probably work on my ability to thread a needle or to bellow “YOU SHALL NOT PASS” in an angry troll voice.
While I obviously had some uncertainty about my name as a child, I like being Taylor. Being Taylor means more than just its etymological definition. It means being sassy, excited about life, and clumsier than anyone else.
When people think about naming their children, they evaluate a name by thinking about all of the people they know that have that name. I know my mom has said that several names were thrown out in the naming process for both my sister and I due to “I knew a ______ in high school, and she was terrible.”
Hopefully knowing me doesn’t knock “Taylor” out of the running for baby names (unless said person is trying to have a child which might actually have hand-eye coordination or be able to walk in a straight line without tripping and falling, in which case, I won’t take offense).
So for anyone naming children soon, I should be up front with you now: I haven’t kept any gates recently, and I still don’t know how to sew.
What is the etymological definition of your name? Does it fit you? In what ways do you think you’ve defined your own name?