Growing up with four other siblings, an experience of what I call “name confusal” often occurred in my home. My mom or dad would speak to me, calling me by one of my sibling’s names.
“Pam, would you get me the newspaper? No, Mike. I mean Kim.”
“I’ll get it for you, Mom. But, I’m Deb.”
“Steve, pass the potatoes. No, Mike. Pam. Kim…”
“Here are the potatoes, Dad, “ responded Deb.
You get the point. I had it happen to me and, if truth were told, I have done the same thing with my own children. It is an annoying little occurrence that makes me slightly irritated to not be recognized by my own name or frustrated that I am mixing up the names of my own children.
This common phenomenon of name confusal is happening with two of my friends and me. And this time, this name confusal has not been one of irritation or frustration—rather, one of a bit of wonder and fun.
Friends for many years, name confusal began during a week when a number of friends gathered in the Adirondacks and has continued ever since. It was then that the DebJenBarb name confusal began.
We make an unlikely and delightful threesome. Often not together, months can pass before the three of us are in the same room. Spanning in 10 years, (61, 51, and 41) we each bring a unique and lovely difference to our bond. We are distinctly different. We don’t look alike. We have varying interests and our mannerisms and expressions are different. Yet, something about us is specifically similar. The similarity is illusive. What is it?? Is it energy? In the distinct difference there exists a connection that somehow makes Jen, Deb and Barb at moments be JenDebBarb.
I wonder, is this subtle similarity the reason for the name confusal? Or is it simply because each of us having one-syllable names? The name confusal happens not only by others, but by each of us. JenDebBarb. BarbJenDeb. DebJenBarb. When together, at least one time someone will call me Jen or Barb. Or call Jen Deb or Barb. Or call Barb Jen or Deb.
BarbJenDeb is nice energy to have and give. Friendship entwines us in unexpected ways. Distinctly different and subtly similar…each of us. And together something new, bigger exists. Because we are each there. Not only Barb, Jen and Deb, but BarbJenDeb.
Thanks for being there Jen. No I mean Deb. Ooops. I’m Deb. I mean Barb.
Oh well. You get what I mean. Its just that JenDebBarb thing.
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