Who Is Mistral Dawn?

Mistral Dawn is a thirty-something gal who has lived on both coasts of the US but somehow never in the middle. She currently resides in the Southeast US with her kitty cats (please spay or neuter! :-)) where she works as a hospital drudge and attends graduate school. Taken By The Huntsman is her first effort at writing fiction and if it is well received she has ideas for several more novels and short-stories in this series. Please feel free to visit her on FaceBook or drop her a line at mistralkdawn@gmail.com

Friday, March 25, 2016

What's In A #Name?

Hey Everyone!!

Kate is back today with some of her thoughts about labels and how we're more than what people call us.

I was standing in the room when he entered, all his bags of legos and videos bouncing against his lower legs. He was a teenager this year and it showed. He was all legs and arms going in various directions as he hovered about, bouncing on his toes talking to me. His face lit up when he saw me and he waved enthusiastically as he called out

“Hey Dave! Guess what?!”

I grinned and walked over, helping him put all his stuff in the right places and catching his shoes as he kicked them off and they went flying through the air. Nothing the child ever did happened at ground level it seemed and soon he was off, hopping up and down, skipping, twirling around as he talked.

“So my mom and my brother and I watched a movie last night, Sandy! We watched Toy Story 2, Aimee! My mom said I did very good!” He flung open his arms in a gesture of pleased surprise and truthfully, considering that he'd recently given his mother a concussion by hitting her with a broom, I was pleased for him. Pleased that they'd had a good night for once. Pleased to see him smile and pleased he remembered it at all. He stopped skipping in circles “Hey, what's your name again?”

I smiled and responded with my name. His eyes lit up and sparkled with the knowledge although a split second later, it was gone as he sat down to play a game on the floor and asked me to play with him, calling me “Dave” again. I sat down and we played Uno, or mostly played Uno since partway through we seemed to switch to “Go Fish” and then switch back to Uno again in an oddly smooth transition. I got up to walk over to the counter to get him some popcorn when he asked and he yelled after me “Hey Dave, I want the yellow popcorn please!” at my departing back. I turned and nodded to indicate I heard him and he resumed laying on his mat flailing his arms about as though doing snow angels.

The teacher walked in and the child leaped to his feet to rush over and greet the teacher, immediately explaining that he and Dave were playing a game of Uno and that Dave was getting the popcorn. The teacher looked a bit confused and scanned the room looking for a substitute but then his eyes met mine as I walked over with the popcorn. “I do believe I am Dave today. We tried on Aimee and Sandy for size but it apparently just wasn't the same.” The teacher nodded and shrugged, reaching out to try and stop the child from climbing onto a nearby desk to look at the holes in the ceiling.

Originally, people had tried to make him remember their names and some of them still did. Over and over they repeated themselves and over and over he forgot. Over and over they told him what to call them and over and over he had to stop himself in the middle of sentences and ask “What's your name again?” The brain injury suffered when he was three meant that things simply didn't process the way they did for others. His long-term memory was relatively unaffected and things that were not people could make it into the long-term memory but names....although he knew them all...never seemed to completely associate themselves with as specific person. About two weeks into working with him I'd dropped all pretense of names and just waited for him to decide what I was called when he came in. Whatever he settled on that day was who I was and that was fine.

The funny thing was that the child absolutely knew when one of us was absent and he knew exactly who we were. He recognized us when he saw us, he talked about us at home. He liked me a great deal and we did well together and that was all that mattered to me. A name is a name is a name. It's a label and sometimes, who we truly are and what think is truly important cannot fit into a convenient label. Instead it must be lived, experienced and nurtured. You are not a label. You are a you. Embrace that and the labels you currently use to define yourself will suddenly seem wholly inadequate and flat.

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