What’s in a name?

I really like my name.

That hasn’t always been the case. When I was young, we lived next door to a woman who had the same first name as me. She babysat a lot of children (back when you didn’t need a license for a home-based daycare business, I’m sure). Because I had the same name as their babysitter, all those little (well, littler) kids would use my first and last name, all run together into one word.

I hated that.

I’d never been fond of my first name, but hearing it slammed against my last name like that just set me on edge. Even then, at nine years old, I knew that names are important. Names mean something. Names hold power. So when I changed schools at fourteen, I also changed my name.

It wasn’t a radical change, merely an alternative diminutive of my given name, Catherine. But Cate suited me. I liked this name. I liked the unique spelling (although years later when Cate Blanchett became a popular actress I realised it wasn’t as unique as I’d thought). I was comfortable believing this would be my name forever.

There are cultures where people change their names to reflect different phases or to mark growth. This practice appeals to me. But I never really thought I’d be changing my first name again. And then I got married.

The story of that particular process is long and complicated and a tale best told some other time. But when my last name became Wild, I considered dropping the ‘e’ on my first name. When a good friend told me it was the perfect name for a writer and she could picture it on the cover of a book, that sealed the deal. A wildCat was born.

When I had my first story published under my new name, I’m not sure what made me more excited…having my story accepted or seeing my new name in print. It’s a giddy feeling, and I smile every time I see it. I even took a screenshot of my name under the title.

I suppose it’s good that I can find pleasure in little things like that.

If you have moment, please read my story. That would make me happy, too.


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