Little Girl With A Big Name

For We Write Poems Poetry Prompt #140: In The Eye of The Beholder

Betty Lou Crawford age 2

Little Girl With A Big Name

Siblings sometimes said
she was runt of the litter,
she didn’t care, wasn’t bitter.
Loved her creamed-coffee
curly hair, thought that big name
was far too formal, not normal
for common tom-boy clothes
she’d learned to wear.

Accepted shorter versions
like Betty, Beth, even Lizzie.
Didn’t get in a tizzy when others
snipped pieces off her too big
moniker. Didn’t occur to her,
until much later, that name
is definition, recognition
of better space for life,
wider space for living.

Now tells them all her given
name, and can’t explain their
continuing need to change it.
Wonders why, when she insists,
“My name is Elizabeth,”
there are those who still have need
to name her otherwise,
to narrow possibilities.

Elizabeth Crawford  1/30/13

Note: Really couldn’t decide what I wanted to write about for this prompt. Then found a brief snippet I had written a while back, about being a small child with a really big name. My given name is Elizabeth, but I was called Betty (as well as other things) for half of my existence. Finally learned the meaning of Elizabeth, and that Betty had no literal meaning. Have introduced myself as Elizabeth, ever since. And there are always people around me, who don’t like, or are not comfortable with that designation, and choose to change it to something shorter, perhaps more comfortable for them. I love my name and have worked hard to grow into it.

About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here:
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8 Responses to Little Girl With A Big Name

  1. Misky says:

    I love this, Elizabeth, and absolutely agree that people should not take liberties with a person’s name.

    My first semester in college, I went for an interview for a position on campus. When the woman saw my name on the application, she immediately asked me if I preferred being called Elizabeth. I said yes. She hired me, and for the next year, never called me anything but Liz. Have never understood that particular need. Doubt I ever will. Thanks for the visit Misky,



  2. Elizabeth, this is wonderful!

    Thank you Denise, I had a lot of questions about it, and noodled it more than anything I’ve written in the last month. Glad you liked it, and I loved your piece on the beautiful scar,



  3. Elizabeth is such a beautiful name – I’m glad you’ve grown to like it!

    Thanks, I do like it a lot, and find it beautiful as well,



  4. Mary says:

    Well, I do think people have a right to be called what they choose to be called. “Elizabeth” is a beautiful name. However, I can empathize with those who call you one of the shorter forms if they have used that form for a long time. It is probably habit with them. I have a cousin Bill who is 15 years older than me. If I don’t think before I speak, I sometimes call him “Billy” from my childhood days when he used to babysit me and everyone called him Billy! Old habits DO die hard.

    Hi Mary, and yes I realize that family members will and do continue to call me the names of my childhood. That’s fine by me. This is more aimed at individuals who don’t know me on any personal level, yet insist on diminishing my name within moments of being introduced, or, like the woman in my response above, simply don’t care if it bothers me or not. And yes, there seem to be quite a few of those, who seem to be challenged by the name itself. Thanks for reading and commenting,



  5. Sherry Marr says:

    I love this, kiddo. Yes, people should respect your wishes. We seem to be such a casual society these days, everything maybe a bit too informal?

    Sherry, I would be the last to argue against ‘informal’, but this one hits too close to home. Perhaps I would respond differently if I had always been defined as Elizabeth, rather than choosing it in my early thirties because it all of a sudden seemed to hold more truth than anything else. It reminds me of those old sayings about converts and how much more knowing they seem to be than those who have always practiced? Thanks for stopping in, and really liked your choice of subjects today,



  6. Sherry Marr says:

    p.s. This makes me remember how my grandma always called her closest dearest friends Mrs. Whoever……and she referred to my grandpa as Mr. Marr when speaking of him to her friends. Wow, times have changed!

    That I can’t and won’t argue with. Yes they certainly have changed, lol,



  7. julespaige says:

    I have a name story for you about a William (not sure how Bill ever got to be a nickname for that).
    Calling for William the club leader asked for ‘Billy’, – The mother who picked up, who always called her son William, said; “Let me check and see if William is home, and holding the phone away but close enough – shouted into the house…William are you home? – Just a moment William will pick up the phone.” The club leader replied; “I guess I’m the only one who calls him Billy?” …Duh.

    This was/is a delightful piece. Names are indeed interesting. When I married I accepted my husband’s name. But especially when I write and use my ‘real’ name I also use my maiden name. I didn’t discard it upon marrying. It is still important. But I don’t use a hyphen and have had to explain that when I use both names that it is not a ‘double barrel’ last name.

    Though I do know many women who marry and are not happy with their maiden names – maybe because of miss-pronunciations or the length of it and are happy to discard it and embrace their husband’s name.

    I went in a different direction…

    Hi Jules and thanks for the story, I’ve had a few similar ones. I use my maiden name for my writing. A request my family made after my divorce, when they realized I was actually serious about writing.



  8. Ellen says:

    I love your name, too! I took a while to grow into mine, as well! I love your poem and the wonder of what we attach to a name. My brother didn’t grow into his name till he was in his 30s. He weighted 3 lbs at birth. Clifford just seemed to big and the nickname Chip fit just right, till later.
    Happy you are you, Elizabeth….I loved your poem 😀

    Thanks so much for the visit Ellen. This one was difficult to write, perhaps because it is still somewhat of an emotional issue for me. But, I’m glad that I did it,



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