A rose by any other name.

 I’m not named after anyone.

Before I was born, my mom only had one name in mind for me:  Tasneem. When I asked her why she chose that name, she said it was  because she liked it, and that was it.

I wanted to be named after someone. I feel that it gives your name a backstory and connects you to someone in  the past whom you probably never met, with a rich history and a story  to tell. My youngest sister is named after my maternal great- grandmother. I never met her but my mom, aunt and uncles told me stories about her and I was fond of looking at old photo albums to see pictures of family members long past. I wondered, if I was named after anyone, would I want to know more about them and see if we have similarities other than our names? Knowing myself, the answer was yes.

Growing up in Cape Town for the first decade of my life, the name Tasneem was common.  There was nothing special or unique about it. I can’t recall how many Tasneem’s there were in Primary School; too many to count and too many for my liking. When I was younger, I loved the meaning of my name, but as I grew older and met Tasneem’s everywhere I went in Cape Town, the fondness dissipated; I shared a name with too many people for me to call it my own.

When I moved to Qatar, I was the only one with my name in the entire school. And oddly enough, even though it’s an Arabic name and I was in the Middle East, I never encountered anyone with the same name in all the years that I lived there.

Nope, nothing common about that name.
Nope, nothing common about that name.

When I thought about it, I decided I liked the softness of my name. It isn’t guttural or harsh, it’s a lingering whisper. But it’s not so much the sound of my name that I like, it’s the meaning: Fountain in Paradise. I decided to Google it and found this:

“TASNEEM: Name of a fountain in Jannahh (Paradise) whose drink is superior to the purest of wines. Its nectar will only be drunk by those nearest to Allah Ta’ala. Literally means “rich and elevated”.

I don’t know whether our names influence who we are and if we somehow try to live up to the names we’re given or whether it plays an integral role in our personality. Perhaps that’s up to each individual, but I’ve had a personal love/hate relationship with my name in the past and I’d say that names are a part of who we are; we identify with them on some level.

These past few weeks, my Facebook newsfeed was filled with new-born baby pictures. It seems everyone gave birth around the same time; June and July. I love babies and I always love hearing what people name their children.

Wise woman.
Wise woman.

Nowadays though, names have become so ridiculous unique that it’s difficult to find someone who shares the same name, especially if you’re named after Superman, like Nicolas Cage’s son. He named his son, Kal-El. That’s a name to live up to. And how many Kal-El’s are you going to find on Earth, let alone in school? Granted, that’s a pretty cool namesake. Who else can say, “I’m named after Superman”?

Then again, would anyone really want to say that?

Are you named after anyone? And do you think your name influences who you are in some way?


6 thoughts on “A rose by any other name.

  1. I love your name! Coming from Texas I had never met anyone with your name. It has a beautiful sound and I love the meaning.

    I used to have issues with me name. I didn’t know if I liked it or not. I still don’t know. It is a very common name here and in some other countries as well. I even know of at least two other people in my city with the same full name AND birthday as me (one of those is my sister-in-law). Knowing this though has actually helped me to accept my name. I may share it but that fact that I share it with my brother’s wife makes for an interesting story to share.

    My first name is Katie. I don’t even know where my parents got my name but I know it means either Hope or Pure. I go with hope. This has definitely helped make my name grow on me. I want to help others and let them know that there is hope for them in this world. So, I am living up to my name in a way.

    Wow this was a long comment I think.

    1. Thanks a lot 🙂

      That is an interesting story to tell; that you and your sister-in-law have the same full name and birthday. Do you have a lot in common with her?

      I’ve never met a Katie and personally I think it’s a sweet name. Usually, if I meet someone and they have nasty personalities, even if they have ‘nice’ names, I associate that name with them and start to dislike the name altogether.

      I love the meaning ‘Hope’ actually when I was a kid, I liked the names Hope and Faith (not because of the t.v show of the same name) I just thought it was so beautiful.

      For a long time I thought I’d name my daughter Imaan, which is Arabic for Faith. :p Oh well. And Hope in Arabic is Amaal or Amal, which is another name I like :p

      So it’s safe to say I like your name 😉

      1. I actually don’t know if we have much in common or not. We don’t ever spend much time getting to know each other. Probably should…

        I always associate names with the people I know with that name. There are some good names out there that I don’t like because of certain people.

        I like those names. I have looked at the equivalent of my name in other languages and countries before. The only two I really remember were Katia and Anezka. I don’t remember where they were from though.

  2. The meaning of your name is beautiful! 🙂

    I have never thought about being named after someone… Well I’m not!

    Arindam means one who defeats his enemies… (its a Bengali/Sanskrit name)

    However as I think about it… I guess I would rather like not to be named after someone because then people (myself included) would try to find the person’s image in me and then compare him to me…
    On the other hand a general name gives more freedom to shape one’s own personality

    1. Thank you!
      Your name has a cool meaning. I know some names have no meaning at all, or they have pretty weird meanings like, “Sorry” or something random like that, so we should be grateful 🙂

      Yeah, true. Although when I was younger I really wanted to be named after someone just to find out more about them. I guess it was more for the connection to someone I’d never known, you know?

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