Others have burst into song. “Dawn go away, you’re no good for me.” That group seems to have died off.
Sadly, they were replaced by Helen Reddy fans, “Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on?” Oh wait, that was me, and now it’s stuck in my head. “Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?”
A few years ago, I considered switching to my middle name, Lisél. It’s pronounced lee-sell, accent on the sell, even though it looks like lee-sul, accent on the lee. Dad named me for a pen pal he'd met through his high school French class. The switch fell through, because Lisél is ill-suited for daily use. There’s too much to explain.
There’s also sarcasm: your dad must have really liked that pen pal. Wink. Wink.
In grade school, my brother Bill was Les—which is his middle name. Three out of four Downeys, male and female, have Leslie in their name, including our baby sister Leslie—which is her first name. In high school, Les introduced himself as Bill, but our stepmother started calling him Junior. At school he was Bill, at home some of the family were calling him Les, (or maybe they were talking to baby sister Leslie) while others were calling him Junior. You had to take sides. I didn’t know where to stand, until Les/Junior/Bill went away to college and came back definitively Bill. I like Bill. The man and the name are excellent.
I had to grow into my first name. Dawn has big implications. Sunrise brings hope, as well as relief from the dark. Dawn brings a new understanding, in my case an understanding of my personality. I’ve survived the darkness, the wars with Dawn. With age and introspection I’ve settled in. I wear my personality loosely. As I become more comfortable in my skin, it’s the dawning of me.
A friend recently switched from Kate to Katherine. Initially, I was surprised. You think you know someone, and then you find out you had no idea. But after she told me she’d had to grow into Katherine, a big yes blossomed in my chest. She is definitively Katherine.
And yet it’s hard to make the change. Habit leaps out of my mouth. “Kate,” I say when I mean Katherine. I’m embarrassed. Dammit, mouth, get on board.
I seldom meet another Dawn, and it's shocking when it happens. In yoga, my teacher said, “Dawn bring your right knee in.” But that knee was behaving just as it should. “Dawn, widen your stance.” Any wider, and I’d be a wishbone. “Dawn, look straight ahead.” But I was, already. Had she gone crazy? Then she said, “We have two Dawns here today.” Turns out, for a little while anyway, I had no idea who Dawn was.
I'm still learning.
I'm taking this Dawn Downey show on the road! Join me in Branson, MO on Sunday, March 19, 2017 or in Kansas City on Friday, April 14th, 2017. More details to come in the next few weeks via email and my Dawn Downey facebook author page.
Mama's Eyes Were Green
Christmas by Myself
Dawn's Christmas List