Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Too Legit to Quit

Author Kary Oberbrunner set me at ease with his opening lines in the first chapter of Your Secret Name.  He mentions the difficulty of growing up as a boy with a girl's name.  I grew up with a similar problem in reverse.  Leigh is a unisex name.  While people who know me know that I am unquestionably feminine, I've amassed stories over the years of people who heard my name and guessed I was a boy.  That even includes my best friend Erin. 

Back in freshman year of high school before our paths crossed, she was dating one of my grammar school classmates.  Only a handful of us had transitioned from private Christian grammar school to public high school and Erin wanted to know who else had accompanied Troy.  Troy mentioned my name and Erin replied, "Oh, I don't know him."  We can laugh about it today but I can testify that no one wants to be mistaken for the opposite gender.

I suppose my bigger woes have been the constant misspelling and mispronunciation of my birth name.  Lee, Lea, Leah, Lee-ih, pronounced like "sleigh."  The possibilities are endless, including one telemarketer that asked to speak with "Legit."  I wish I was kidding.

Kary mentions how the teasing over his name brought him to his breaking point.  My name has never brought me to my breaking point but it has brought me to full-on irritation.  It's annoying to correct people all the time.  Family friends will lapse into calling me "Leah."  A relative will switch the "e" and the "i" in a card.  Differentiating that while some parts of the US name their boys Leigh, my parents named their daughter Leigh.  I've never met anyone with my name and spelling- although I have run into one or two in the blogosphere.  Despite all this, I don't know what other birth name would better suit me.  I am a unique girl with a unique name and spelling.  Leigh somehow fits me.

I never intended to take any other names for myself (beyond a new last name if Mr. Right ever gets around to meeting me.)  Yet, over the years, I've amassed various Given Names.  Given Names, those manmade traps, false selves- they bring us to the pit of despair.  Even though I've been able to replace the truth for the lies with some of them, these Given Names remain in my history.  I used to call myself Ugly, Unlovable, Unwanted.  Those were dark days.  Even now, on an occasional sad day or insecure moment, I can see them hovering in the background, just waiting for me to put them back on.  But I don't.

Even though I can boast victory over those Given Names, there are other Given Names I still have and I long to discover what God's name for me might be.
"You too need to be awakened by God's whisper in a dream because, most likely, you have no idea of all the wonderful plans God wants to lavish upon you."  -p. 27
I want to see the ways that God created me in His likeness.  What are the parts of me where God shines through?  I want to be centered in His will no matter what is going on around me.  I don't want to get hung up on how other people see me or how they want me to be.  I am simply me. A daughter, sister, friend, pediatric social worker, White Sox fan, music lover, book nerd, and child of God.  That last identifier should trump the who of who I am.

The first two chapters of Your Secret Name held such wonderful nuggets of truth.  I'm looking forward to how the rest of this journey will unfold.

This post is part of the Your Secret Name Read-Along hosted by the ever-lovely Marla Taviano.

Disclosure: Amazon Affiliate links included in this post. If you click through to Amazon from HopefulLeigh, any purchase you make supports this site.


  1. This post is a hundred kinds of awesome, Leigh. Your title kills me. I want what you want--to be centered in his will, regardless of my circumstances. Whether I'm feeling happy and loved and popular and successful OR really, really crappy.

    Thanks so much, friend! I've been learning a lot from you these past few months!

  2. My married last name is often said "Fraud", which, given the name and how exactly like its spelled it sounds, is insane.

    I can't wait to get further in the book to learn all those wonderful names God calls me!

  3. Leigh Elizabeth= beautiful, strong in the Lord, compassionate, wise, loved from before you were knit together in my womb, much wanted, much loved, much enjoyed, never far from my thoughts, always in my prayers...honored to be your mother.

  4. I didn't even think of this before, but I can't even TELL you badly Taviano gets butchered. And me? I'm MARIA to EVERYONE who doesn't know me. Boo.


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