They say knowledge is power. They meaning Sir Francis Bacon and the million others on brainyquote.com (We know everything is better with Bacon.)
I jumped on the newly launched bandwagon of the name community back in 2010. Granted, baby name info had been around a while before, and people have been naming other people since at least Lewis and Clark. (I think everyone before that was just called John Smith.) Maybe no one gave a Sacagawea. But I discovered I did. I don’t even know how except for divine intervention, but I came across an @AnastasiaRuby name video on YouTube. Wait, what? Other people found names fascinating? Other people were bold enough to write about them and post videos about them? I was all in.
I started my own blog centered around my first genre of name loves, babynamesfromthebible.com I found nobody else really talking about them. Countless gems just laying there unused. Adah, Nekoda, Judah, names that were breathtaking and found right in the Bible. Talk about the history, which history is another love of mine.
Soon after, I launched my own YouTube talking about Biblical Baby Names. At this point, as I was growing, the name world was growing but was still closely knit. Everybody knew of everybody, basically. It felt like a haven.
But I kept finding myself getting blogged into a corner.
I love biblical names, but I wanted to talk about more than that. So I started making other videos and I felt like my channel was getting confusing. Back in that stone age, you couldn’t change your YouTube name. Then add me having a baby and getting busier, and the glitter started to fall off of everything for me.
I wanted more interaction with people. I wanted more names. I wanted more.
In 2013, the buzz was growing louder about this app called Instagram. I was pretty skeptical to be honest. It seemed like a dead end road. But my sister in law @sfilly03 encouraged me to try it anyway. But it was full of selfie takers and photographers and I didn’t see myself fitting into it anywhere.
And then I felt a gentle nudge. “Try it,” it said. “What’s the worse that happens? Nobody shows up? That’s not terrible, that’s just an answer for direction.”
I looked around Instagram and found zero name accounts. One account was like a baby/parenting account that would occasionally post something about a name. But they definitely weren’t calling themselves that.
So the yes’s had it. I created a little picture with a name, which was terrible quality I might add, and posted it. Added hashtags I didn’t know anything about or how to use, and got like 3 likes. And. I. Was. Stoked.
@NamesDaily was born, and it evolved. I started talking about baby names, to just names in general. I worked on my vision, felt like quitting a few times because of how hard it was to make the posts every day. The follower count grew and I was crazy jazzed every time it did. It was crazy. Absolutely crazy. Little old me, the namer without a super strong name in the name world, was going somewhere. I was getting my more.
And I felt like I was born again, with my new name.
When I first jumped on the bandwagon, I had a lot of ideals. Learning about names made me start to shun the common and super popular ones. To choose a popular name was to be clueless to the world of name potential. People were letting themselves be jipped by not researching. It was easy to be opinionated. It was easy to look at birth announcements in the paper and scowl. Honest to goodness, guys. Because knowledge is power. And a little bit makes you feel like an expert.
If you don’t believe me, scroll through the comments on mommy blogs. It’s enough to make your toes curl.
Something magical happened to me when I joined Instagram. I met people. I met lots and lots and lots of people. From everywhere. All over. Around the world. Close by. I heard stories and pain and life and love and hope and healing and sadness, and even hate. I heard so much. And the thing everyone was saying, was they just wanted to find a name for their baby / dog / character / band / book that made them happy.
HAPPY. Being happy. Finding the happiness amidst the increasing societal pressure to be unique. “Name your ____ something unique that stands out, but appeals to the conservative, but is also artistic and creative, but doesn’t have potential for bullying, and make sure it fits in with the family but make sure you’re not forcing your own beliefs and hopes for ____ on them…” And it’s enough to make anyone start panting.
It’s been such an honor to be a part of so many women’s lives through Instagram. Naming lost babies to rainbow babies to adopted babies to hoped for babies, it’s been heart changing every time. And yeah, I consider myself a name guru, only because I’ve been around the block with the best fellow namer enthusiasts and I’ve been riding the wagon for a long time. But guess what I’ve learned?
I don’t need to tell people everything about names to empower people. I find myself guiding with what I’ve learned, yes, but the end result being what’s been in their own heart the whole time. And sometimes, that’s a many generationally repeated family name. Sometimes it’s a unique spelling. Sometimes it’s the uber popular name. Sometimes, it’s the really brave name.
Often, I feel more like an archaeologist unearthing ever so gently the name that’s trying to be born, but that’s already there.
The more I’ve learned, the more I’ve learned to relax about everything and just have a good time. (I’m lookin’ at you, Kanye and Grumpy Cat. And the Alexia Mae in the early years.)
I love being here. So, so, so very much. I love the name community I’m a part of. And it’s grown! Growing! Instagram now has over 200 baby name accounts now. Quite a few aren’t active anymore, but I feel so excited to have helped start something on an app I once thought didn’t have room for names. Little did I know the community it would help to foster. You look around on Instagram and there’s Ren, and Meagan, and Xanthe, and so many other gems.
I’m honored. I’m thankful. And I’m happily here. XO