“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
- “your other self could be just right there where you are, waiting to emerge, be careful though as you might not like to reveal it”
M – Merry, abundant joy
I -Influential, your thoughts have weight
C – Calm, your presence is comforting
H – Happy, a joy to have around
E – Eloquent, the gift of expression
L – Laidback, not sweating the small stuff
L – Light-hearted, you have an easy laughter
E -Energetic, an indefatigable spirit
( a lovely, acrostic poem given by one of my high school students many years ago)
I will tell you a story, and let me begin by saying my name is Michelle; Michelle from the Beatles song. Obviously, my father was a super Beatles fan, that he named his firstborn daughter, Michelle. My mother used to say that, my papa would sing me the song to tuck me to bed or to make me stop crying. And so I grow up listening and singing to the song alongside my father. Yes, again I too have become a Beatles fan myself. Do I have the choice then? Maybe no. But I learned to love the melody and eventually learned the lyrics. And it is for me, the greatest love song ever was written. It has my name on it, why not?
My father would repeatedly tell me the story of how the song was born. According to him, John Lennon invited McCartney over to college parties when he was still in high school, and French culture was a trend. Paul would try to fit in by pretending to be French. He would play little tunes in French, but he actually only knew a few French words so he would make up words. John told him that he should make it into a real song. So he asked his friend Ivan Vaughan, whose wife was a French teacher, for a French name and some words to rhyme with it. Vaughan came up with “Michelle, ma belle.” McCartney then came up with the next line, “These are words that go together well,” and Vaughan taught him the French translation, which he used in the song as well. When he played it for Lennon, John suggested the “I love you” to be part of the middle verse.
My father would then add, “this was not based on any particular woman, they chose the name because it sounded good, and I chose this name for you because it fits perfectly your angelic face, you look so good as a baby, and so I thought, what better way to call you than, Michelle“
“I love you, I love you, I love you
That’s all I want to say
Until I find a way
I will say the only words I know that
Well, my dad would sing me the chorus all the time, especially if I did so well in my class, at home, or even playing scrabble and crossword puzzles with him. I was the happiest little girl who never run out to play outside the house. I was the happiest girl who at 5 years old enjoyed playing scrabble with an adult. Yes, again I was not your typical little girl then. But I was very happy. They said, I never had tantrums. Who will have tantrums if you have a father who tells you how much he loves you over and over in a song, all the time, every day?
But hold on, there is the flip side of the story.
I say I wasn’t your perfect little girl though. I had my share of naughtiness and playfulness. My father would put up to that or even tolerate me for being naughty most of the time, but again, there is the “but”, only up to a certain limit. I was very naughty that I’d push the limits too sometimes or maybe I was just so confident I wouldn’t get a dose of my medicine, so to say. (After all, I am a daddy’s little girl)
My father is probably the kindest human being you will encounter. He never yells, nor shout. He’d talk to you in a very calm voice even if when he is already mad. And so because of that, we wouldn’t even know if he was mad or simply being nice.
Well, not exactly. I knew for sure he is mad, particularly on me if and when he calls me “Mikaela”
While, Michelle for him is his loving, obedient, kind, and well-mannered daughter, the “Mikaela” is his naughty, sometimes stubborn mischievous child. He can tolerate my behaviors except for one thing; I have the habit of not finishing my food. And so he would calmly say “Mikaela, babaunin mo as higaan and pagkain kapag di mo inubos yan” (Mikaela, you will bring the food in your bed when you sleep if you don’t finish that.) And I never dared challenge him on that because the first and last time I did, he really put the food beside me while sleeping.
And so growing up was like that. The nice me is “Michelle” and the naughty me is “Mikaela”, but it was only my father who has the authority and the power to use that name on me. Well, not really by now, my siblings and my mother would do so by now, if they want to tease me and make me cry for missing our father who passed away already.
What’s in it for a name? A lot, especially if it has made you see both sides of the world.
“Hush now Michelle, end this before you even begin to cry”…