Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Conversation with a Child

Today was not a good day. So not a good day that I ended up on the phone crying with my Mom while sitting on the steps outside a hotel in downtown D.C. Nothing bad, just the combination of the stress of jury duty, being away from work, allergies, and lack of sleep.

After a brief and frustrating trip to Forever 21, I went to the library to pick up a book. While at the counter, a girl of about 8 or 9 started talking to me.

Girl: Hi.
Me: Hi.
Girl: What's your name?
Me: Bonnie
Girl: I'm Olivia.
Me: That's pretty.
Girl: What does your name mean?
Me: means pretty. Sorry thanks bye.

Then I left and went to the bathroom. Which I needed to do anyway but probably could have made a smoother exit.

Now, let's back up. I love my name, I do. I love that I'm named after my mom's mom. However, I have to be honest, I don't love that it means "beautiful."

The meaning of my name immediately takes me back to a day in the 8th grade when we had to present the meaning of our name to the class. I had to stand in all my pre-pubescent glory -- stringy bangs, buck teeth, micro boobs, knobby knees -- and explain that my name meant "beautiful." Um, no. So I went with "fair."

I'm generally fine with the way I look, in large part due to the presence of confidence and the absence of the stringy bangs, buck teeth, and knobby knees. (No comment on the boobs.) But I still usually default to explaining my name as meaning "fair." Except today, for some reason, I thought this child wouldn't know what that meant so I went with "pretty." And then apologized. Because I:
  • Felt guilty for the fact that I was so not pretty today? 
  • Had red eyes, runny mascara, messy hair, and a glowing pimple? 
  • Wasn't in the best state of mind and needed to acknowledge it before bailing?
  • Was just an awkward and crazy mess?

Ding ding we have a winner! But apparently it didn't phase Olivia too much because as I left she waved goodbye and said, "Bye, Bonnie!"

And I smiled all the way home. So thanks, "peaceful" Olivia, for giving me some peace at the end of a crappy day.

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