On the recommendation of Christina Katz’s new online book club, I’m reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed. The following is an excerpt from Christina’s blog.
In the memoir, Wild, on page 241, the narrator talks about a necklace given as a gift by a friend.
I looked at the padded envelope. It was from my friend Laura in Minneapolis. I opened the envelope and pulled its contents out: a letter folded around a necklace she’d made for me in honor of my new name. STRAYED it said in blocky silver letters on a ball-link chain. At first glance, it looked like it said STARVED because the Y was slightly different than all of the other letters—fatter and squatter and cast from a different mold, and my mind scrambled the letters into a familiar word.
Earlier in the book we learned that the narrator chose a new name for herself after she got divorced. She picked a name that was meaningful to her. She told us on page 97:
I had diverged, digressed, wandered, and become wild. I didn’t embrace the word as my new name because it defined negative aspects of my circumstances or life, but because even in my darkest days—those very days in which I was naming myself—I saw the power of the darkness. Saw that, in fact, I had strayed and that I was a stray and from the wild places my straying had brought me, I know things I couldn’t have known before.
Christina Katz Productions
This reminds me of the growing trend of people getting tattoos on the inside of their wrists. They pick a word or phrase that is meaningful to them, that serves as a reminder every time they see this visible place.
Changes in the author’s life brought her knowledge that she otherwise wouldn’t have had, intimate information about herself that she wouldn’t have discovered.
Most of us have gone through a few life altering events: recovery from an illness, becoming a parent, getting married or divorced, experiencing loss, changing careers, dealing with an addiction, etc. These types of events, positive or negative, push us into blinding, unknown places where we have to search for the light that guides us. We have to let go of who we were and recreate who we’ve become.
I decided to find my special word, thinking that this would be an easy task, until I researched many definitions. By using a dictionary and a thesaurus, I finally came up with the right one. But first, the runners up:
1 – certitude – freedom from doubt
2 – authentic – reliable, trustworthy; authenticate – to make valid and/or genuine
But the one word that I felt the strongest about was :
resilient – recovering readily from adversity
What would you choose as your meaningful new name?