Saturday, July 03, 2004

In love

I am falling in love with my own name. I have no idea why or wherefore, but after twenty-one years my name has suddenly become more fascinating to me.

'Odessa' has Greek origin, stemming from the word 'odyssey', which literally means a long, unplanned journey. Quite a fitting meaning considering that is what my entire life has been. Maybe not the 'long' part yet, but definitely the unplanned part. 'Odessa' also has the strange fortune of being the name of a myriad of cities around the world: Odessa WA, Odessa TX, Odessa Ukraine, and a couple others I can't remember. My name is also popularly associated with 'The Odessa File', the film in which Jon Voight plays a German reporter searching for missing Nazi war criminals.

As I grew up, whenever I introduced myself, the usual reaction was one of three things:
"That's a very beautiful name."
"Oh, like Odessa (TX, Ukraine, WA, etc.)" This statement is usually followed by, "Were you named after one of those cities?" or,
"Oh, like the Odessa Files!"

Sometimes a person will even ask me if I know that there are cities with the same name or that there is a film. Though I don't want to sound rude or cynical, don't these people realize that after twenty-one years I have realized that there are cities and a film with my name? Do they really expect me to say "No, really? I never knew that!"

After hearing these same responses for the first ten years of my life, I became understandably tired of them. I mean, girls with the name Melissa or Elizabeth or Kelly never get those types of reactions. Over and over and over and over again. Even though I liked my name, I became annoyed with the same response I got every time I introduced myself. I had a fake gracious smile that I put on every time while I said for the ump-tenth time, "Thank-you, yes, I did." In a nutshell, my name was Odessa, it was unusual, started with an 'O' (how many girls names actually start in 'O'?), and it brought one of the same three responses from everyone. Not that I disliked my name, but it just created much repeatitive conversation.

After twenty-one years, I also still have yet to meet another Odessa. I have heard of other Odessas ("Oh, I have a great-aunt named Odessa", or "My niece's name is Odessa."), but I have never been able to call another person my own name. I often wondered, what would it be like to call someone Odessa? What would I think when I said it? What would another Odessa look like?

As I said previously, I am now falling in love with my own name. I came across it in a book I was reading the other day, in which the character went to 'Odessa'. I was unprepared to run across my name at that moment, and for a split second, I had a fabulous moment of objectivity concerning the look and sound of my name and how it looked on me. Odessa. It's actually a pretty cool name. I can't think of another name I would rather have. I mean, how many Odessas can there be in the world? I would much rather have a name that made people think rather than another Jane or Cathy that blips across their mind's screen automatically (my apologies to all Janes and Cathys who might read this. Your names are beautiful too, and I hope you are in love with them.)

My name is Odessa, thank-you, yes, I know about the film, and no, my parents didn't name me after a city.


Blogger Charisa said...

hooray! we can comment! only now i can't use a differant name. 'tupidtupidtupid!'
I'm glad you're in love with something. Other than what people are usually in love with. This is a very long post. At least people don't mess up the pronunciation of your name as they do mine.
"Klarissa? Karina? Shareesa?"

11:19 PM  

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