My name is pretty boring. Jessica. Two syllables, that’s all. Very common. It doesn’t roll off the tongue in a beautiful manner. If I go by my full name, I feel like I’m getting yelled at when people say it. If I go by Jesse, I feel like a kid, and if I go by Jess, I just feel eh about it. If I was living around Shakespeare’s time, it wouldn’t have been a common name, so I might have liked it, but there are just tons of Jessica’s out there. In Hebrew it means “rich” and “G-d beholds.” That does make my name somewhat interesting, but not super interesting. Fun fact, it was also used in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.
My middle name is equally boring. Beatrice. Three syllables this time though! I take more pride in my middle name, which I used to hate when I was younger. I thought it was ugly and I was embarrassed to tell people what it was. I remember in 8th grade French class, we had to pick our names in French. My teacher said that Jessica wasn’t French enough, so she made me go by my middle name which, in her mind and accent, had a more “French ring” to it. So there I was with everyone knowing my middle name. I always felt badly about being embarrassed by having Beatrice as my middle name because it’s my dad’s mom’s name. I should’ve been proud to have that. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized how special the name Beatrice is. My dad’s mom passed when he was eight, and I never met her, but on my 20th birthday, my dad told me he’s glad they gave me her name because I look like her. It was at that moment I felt proud to have my middle name as Beatrice.
I love my Hebrew name. Chava Batya. It’s interesting and exotic to me. The way you pronounce Chava is very icky to explain. You take the “c” and the “h” and make the sound in the back of your throat like you’re REALLY phlegmy. Batya doesn’t need an explanation. It’s spelled how it sounds. So this is where the name Chava gets pretty cool. The meaning in Hebrew is Mother of All Life. Eve’s English name was Eve, but her Hebrew name was Chava. I thought that was really interesting. Batya means Daughter of G-d. I never knew that until just now and that’s pretty nice to know.
But, no matter what, my name is Jessica and one day I will find the beauty in it. It’s what my parents chose to name me and I’m going to stick with it. I like knowing that I have a little exotic secret when it comes to my Hebrew name.