J is for Jessica: #AtoZChallenge

I don’t use a pen name – I’ve decided cutesy on-line handles and aliases are not conducive to owning and taking pride in my work.  I was born a Jessica, along with a significant percentage of the baby girls in my birth year, and have not-exactly-loved-it ever since.

Firstly, as I’ve already pointed out, the name is a dime-a-dozen among the early 80s crowd.  Growing up, Jessica’s were certainly never lacking; in a school of 108 students, there were two in my class alone – my class of thirteen.  My workplace also boasts at least three other Jessicas, all within about five years of my age, and I’m confident that should I ever reach that point, the retirement home where I’ll spend my golden years will no doubt be crawling with Jessicas.

I’ve always valued unique names – names that make you stand out or set you apart – in a, “Gee, I’ve never heard that, that’s really beautiful,” sort of way (as opposed to the “Gee, I hope your parent’s dropped money into a therapy fund when they saddled you with that monstrous nomenclature” sort of way that seems to be some parents M.O. these days).  As someone who loved to write growing up, I kept running lists of names for potential characters, and I would have gladly traded my name for any of theirs: Tempest, Rhiannon, Lorelai, Eden, Diamante.

I would have settled for less had me parents bothered with giving me a middle name, something where they could have hedged their bets and gone conservative for my first name but blessed me with something deliciously weird that I could pop out at parties.  It was with middle names that I really favored the more unusual – my top picks for a long time were Chandelier (yes, like the lighting fixture) and Bayonette (yes, like the… gun… blade… thing).  In retrospect, I know those names sound utterly ridiculous, but honestly? I’d rather have them than the nothing I have now.

There’s no interesting origin story to my name – I mean, I love the fact that it was coined by Shakespeare, because I was Pretentious Pre-Teen Shakespeare Fan™, but any claims I made as to that being the origin of my name, specifically, are bullshit.  My parents totally heard the name on a soap opera and liked it.  Also in the running were Rachel and Rebecca, until my parents decided that, along with my last (maiden) name, that would be “too many R’s”  (They then went on to name my brother Robert, but that’s another story).  There’s no meaningful namesake, no heartfelt dedication in my name, no literary reference, no specific etymology that they found meaningful.

They just though “Jessica” was pretty.  Which is fair.

It’s just too bad beauty is so subjective.

How do you feel about your name?



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Jessica Cross

Writer, maker, geek, feminist, mom. Not necessarily in that order.

4 thoughts on “J is for Jessica: #AtoZChallenge”

  1. I rather have your name, at least no one would try to add or take out an extra ‘s.’ the need for individuality make us want a unique name and that’s what I want to but sometimes I really rather just blend in.

    & not just the name but the way it is pronounced is important too. there was once a girl I know in school who keeps telling people to call her by her english name because she fear no one could pronounce her korean name, which I thought was both condescending and just plain dumb

    have a lovely day.


    1. I had enough wrong pronunciations of my (what I thought was simple?) maiden name that I can understand why someone would choose to just opt for an “easier” name. I had a student once who hated her name in English, no one bothered to/could say it correctly, and it really did sound less than pleasant, where in her native language it was quite pretty.


  2. Named after my Grandfather I’m ok with it, I had to grow into it a bit but that’s alright. My kids all got names I made up without being silly about it. Middle names were family nods to my grandmother, my wife’s maiden name. My son was tricky, my wife’s father had passed a few years before and I thought we should name him Kirk, she said no, that can be his middle name… so I had no choice but to pick a weird first name so she would have to convince me to swap them. Yeah for reverse psychology 🙂 So he got that odd middle name you were hoping for. I swear I think this comment might be longer then my blog post for the day (laugh)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We had a few interesting names picked out for Bear (NOT his real name!), but my husband and I decided we wanted to honor his grandparents (who did a LOT for him growing up). But, being Jewish, he didn’t want to name him afer his (still living) grndfather, so we gave Bear their last name as his first name (luckily, it’s a fairly common first name). We gave him Benedict as a middle name, which is a little less common.

      Meanwhile, my husband’s younger brother has a relatively unusual first name, and the middle name Toddriff.

      Liked by 1 person

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