Friday, March 02, 2007

My Name is Miriam



The people are coming and going, filled with anxiety and anticipation.

I am in a line of travelers - squeezed with a mass of people, waiting to move.

I am about to pass into the next phase and approach to my gate.

I hand the airport official my boarding pass and I.D.

This is when it all happened, starting with her casual response.

"Thank you, Miriam."

And there it was.

My name.

Her response was habit, given to hundreds of names the same morning.

It was meant to give me the go. But, instead, it stopped me.

Did she just call me "Miriam?"

Caught off guard, I actually checked my license.

And there it was.

My name.

I was deep in thought as I reclaimed my belongings and started my
march to gate C17. I have seen it on papers, but no one has ever just
called me "Miriam" like that. As if it was my name. I tried to make
sense of the feelings circling my heart upon being casually referred
to by a name given at birth, but practically lost for twenty years.
Approaching my gate, I realized that, while I was about to board a
plane and fly across the country, I was also having an inner voyage.
In a world of travelers, something within was coming home.

----

I arrived at my gate, having made the decision to start thinking more
seriously about making my Hebrew name a more vibrant part of my life.

When I got to my gate, I had to pick up something that my father, who
had taken a flight twenty minutes earlier, had left me by the counter.
He told me he would put my name on it. So I came to the counter to
pick it up.

"Hi, I believe my father just left something here for me. It should
say Mimi on it."

They handed me the envelope. To be totally sure I would be able to
retrieve it, my father had put both my names on it. Right beside the
"Mimi" was written "Miriam."

So, there it was.

My name.

But this time, it was lodged in between two parentheses.

Being the moments leading up to arriving at my gate, I had no casual
response. I looked at my father's handwriting on the envelope, and,
for the first time in a while, felt very sure about a personal
decision.

The name I was given at birth does not belong in parentheses.

The voice within started telling me that I better make this name mine
before it gets locked into only official and meaningless occasions. I
can't let my Hebrew name, and the name of one of our Prophetesses, be
scattered into casual oblivion all the rest of my life. I won't
tolerate that anymore.

So right then and there, I ripped "Miriam" from the tight squeeze of
the parentheses that have held it for way too long. In a daring and
monumental escape, I felt a little fear and a slight lack of
readiness. But my consciousness was buzzing - and I felt obligated to
respond.

Surrounded by movement, I was forced to look within myself and make
something more permanent. For twenty years, my real name was floating,
and now I felt it starting to land. In a place where no one truly
exists, an essential part of my identity was being revived.

For now, the decision to embrace my Hebrew name feels more like a
responsibility than a strong desire. I feel more like a "Mimi" than a
"Miriam" and I have not had a wild epiphany that has led to a
rejuvenated connection to my name. It is more the feeling of injustice
in not being connected that is encouraging me to make it more a part of my life. While the conviction in this decision is not of the nature to officially ask people to start calling me "Miriam," I think I will
be delighted to turn my head when hearing it called. For, while my realization has nothing to do with feeling so connected, it has everything to do with wanting to be.

With this newfound relationship to my name, I already find myself
feeling more whole. The festival of Purim is drawing oh so near, and,
this year, the person beneath the mask is more true to her identity.

She knows her name.

And her name is Miriam.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

To the REAL MIMI!!!

Did you have to stay up till 3:12 AM to get your name right?! or trying to change it?!

As far as I am concerned I know you for 10 years plus by the name of MIMI...and as far as I am concerned that's what it is...

So MIMI; have a great Purim with a mask...

with much Love,

Esther from Shushan

Mimi said...

Esther from Shushan,

Well, gosh! :)

First of all, I have no clue who you are...

Second of all, I have to say, I don't like your tone. This is personal and meaningful for me, so, when you say "as far as I'm concerned" it doesn't sound so respectful or sensitive.

And you don't have to stop calling me Mimi! Maybe you need to read the post again? I don't think you understood the fact that this is more about expansion than a change.

Call me Mimi, by all means. I love it just as much as you do. But, still, my name IS Miriam.

(Oh, and I'll check my bedtime with you next time - it was really 12:15 for me, wasn't tired. And with the move and all, there's lots of unpacking/decorating to do - but...why am I giving excuses? :))

yrdna said...

oh Miriam (mimi) that was/is beautiful!
good for you!!

Anonymous said...

Miriam, Mimi, Mima, Mimacita your so Smushy whichever way you are. :) Love and Hugs to you and great creativity. I actually thought the mask video was you at first. May we all uncover the hidden this Purim and go to the revealed state with Moshiach speedily in our days.

Love ya.

Chana said...

Really beautiful. Ya know, when I go through security at the airport, and the lady says my name, I have a totally different reaction... since she's reading my English name. The one I left behind 8 1/2 years ago! Sorta makes me feel like an impostor boarding the plane. At my essence, I am NOT the name on that ticket.

Happy Purim!

litzo said...

this strikes a chord. neat post and introspection.
i truly admire your courage. your boldness. your genuinity. (its not a real word but sounds better than genuineness.)

your pnimiut way of life fuels me.
where you are found is where YOU, your essence, is.
for one to take a message from a boarding pass and then implement it in one's avodat Hashem, requires bitul. it requires a humbleness that leaves room for G-d. for spirituality.

blog on girl!
please keep sharing your everyday occurrences-gone-hashgacha-pratit anecdotes.

the sabra said...

beautiful

it makes me proud

chevie said...

My name is Miriam too, my middle name, that is :-). It is the coolest name by far- it's all about faith in the face of adversity, assertiveness and focus. Miriams rock! Check out the coolest article on chabad.org called Miriam: Tamborines of Rebellion. It's written by Chana Weisberg. Mimi- keep on writing, you're awesoem!

someone else said...

Miriam- Mimi
BTW where do you have your convo with basya on "why chassidus?" I'd love to hear your response!

the tru me said...

Cool-
I had something a lil like that
When I decided to take off the "e" at the end of my name...
Heheheh
Hope you had a nice Purim!

Raizel said...

Miriam (with a sephardi accent)=)
I already told you my reaction in the flesh, but I will comment here anyway for fun.

I love that someone called you by your name and you felt it inside. You felt the Miriam in you, and you felt a need to start bringing it to your consciousness.

As far as I have seen, through your whole process this past year (which stems from the past couple years)the expression of your essence is really emerging and I really see Miriam coming alive.

from one Miriam to another, keep seeking out and fulfilling your mission and truly expressing your inner soul.

Raizel said...

p.s. the mask video still creeps me out; it is so unsettling.

temmi said...

Mimacita...
Ur name is ur essence... ur reacting from ur essential nature inside of u...
ur other names.. nickmanes and such.... are ur levushim... u garb ur miriam inside a mimi... so that ur miriamness expresses itself in a mimacitaness sort of way...
I LOVE THAT KIND OF MIRIAMNESS>...
enjoy using allll ur namess...
I LOVE IT...

Basya said...

Thanks someone else! I'm also waiting! Mimi- I'm following your blog very closely and still no answer... You shouldn't think I've lost interest in hearing from you:)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, what happened to Basya's answer?!