What’s In A Name?

What’s in a name? When my name comes across an e-mail on a computer screen to a new contact, it’s understandable that they wonder who I am. “Who is this Bambi?” Perhaps the most popular question asked in almost every new situation: “is Bambi your real name?” The answer is “yes.”

My weight was one of the smallest birth weights in the state of North Carolina at only 1 lb. and 15 ozs., and two months before my due date. The doctors told my parents that they shouldn’t name me because the probable likelihood that my survival would not be likely. As a result, my parents named me on the spot: Bambi Christina Weavil. Needless to say, I’ve been a underdog and fighter since the day one.

It’s an unsaid rule that if you have a unusual first name, you should consider adopting your middle name as your first name instead. My middle name is Christina, and there was never any doubt that I would keep Bambi as my first name. It’s important to be unforgettable, you should always give them something to remember them by–and most have never forgotten meeting me based on my name alone. How many Bambi’s have you met? Christina is the 288th most popular name chosen in the United States.

My name has always been a interesting conversation piece. The shocked smile and reaction given because of what a preconceived notion of “what a Bambi would look like” to them doesn’t exactly add up to their expectations, to me having to show my state ID for proof. The Jennifers, Rebeccas, Roberts and Michaels of the world don’t get that as a regular occurrence. Some love my name and have no problem telling me so. Jims don’t receive that kind of fan fare.

It has also worked against me in my life. I was picked on at school at various times with comments like: “Where’s Thumper?”, “Isn’t your Mom dead?” based on the universal experience of the Disney movie, “Bambi” being a cultural reference point. In meeting new people, my name presents a challenge that most don’t normally have to experience.

I wasn’t the only one with a unique name in the history of the world. The best example is one of my favorite performers and arguably one of the greatest performers in the history of the music industry, Elvis Presley. As a life-long Elvis Presley fan and memorabilia collector from an early age, we shared many parallels. We both were born in the South, came from working-class families and were considered “different.” Elvis was also picked on by school classmates for having a “funny” name, adding to his own personal shyness. Despite all the barriers he faced, Elvis overcame all odds, and became a household name in the world. Not many people can claim to be on a first-name basis of recognition in the world, such as Jesus, Madonna and Prince. Elvis helped take down barriers in the history of modern popular music by helping pioneer rock and roll music and shaping American culture. Not bad for a kid with a “funny-sounding” name right?

Your name is your initial first impression to everyone you meet, and the representation of your personal brand. Despite the challenges, I love my name. What’s the story behind your name? Please comment below and tell me your story.