The one whom I love and with whom I live and those with whom I worked before retiring at the end of January – aka those who know me best (and at my worst!) – know how I occasionally, spontaneously call out from where’er I am in the house, “Pontheolla”, and would call out from where’er I was in the office, “Angela”, “Ed”, “Jeff”, “Justi”, “Marcella”, or “Susan”. The response? Usually, “Yes?” or “Yes, Paul.” My usual reply. “Oh, I just wanted to call your name.”
I believe in the power of a name. To be given another’s name is to receive the gift of access and to call one’s name gives the gift of the acknowledgement of another’s presence, existence.
Now, as one born on June 8, I suffer from the Gemini-esque twin personality disorder of embodying a variety of polar opposite traits (which, fortunately, largely dwell together peaceably!). Thus, I also know that in calling out one’s name, I hope to hear an acknowledgment of me; that I exist, that I am worthy of a response.
We all, I believe, have life-issues. For as there are no perfect parents and no perfect children, no one arrives at adulthood without psychic hurts and wounds, as well as benefits and blessings. I was raised by loving, yet demanding parents who, striving to mold me into a replica of their projections of “the good child”, never quite acknowledged my individual person; who I was and who I might become. Hence, that recognition of my essential beingness remains, resides as a quintessential element of my daily consciousness.
This said, in retirement, I have begun to notice that the tension of my need for acknowledgement has lessened. Perhaps it is that – now separated from the daily sphere of compensated work with its implicit demand to prove myself worthy of the financial remuneration I received from others – I am free…to be…me, as the hymn says, “just as I am without one plea.”