“Hi, I’m Tamara — rhymes with camera.” That’s how I’ve introduced myself for about the last ten years.
Tamara. Seems good. Seems to suit me. It’s the only name I’ve ever known after all, so I guess it seems familiar — my old friend, my name. (According to my folks, I could have been Veronica. That would have been cool, but my hair is not remotely luscious enough for that name. Hmmm, in another post, I will consider life as Veronica, my alter-ego-super-hero-persona.)
Like many others, I have one of those names with multiple pronunciations causing multiple confusions and multiple corrections and multiple discomforts as I cease correcting and surrender to being called by the wrong name. Some long-ago acquaintances still think I’m Tamara-sounds-like-Tomorrow because I didn’t have the heart to correct them again. It was weirdly embarrassing to me that they couldn’t get my name right, and embarrassment is my kryptonite. I’m sure my inability to claim my name loudly, vigorously and repeatedly must signify a lack of some pivotal heroine-character-trait (Veronica-me would never be so cowardly!), but that’s how it was until I came up with the rhyme. Not Ta-MARE-ah or Ta-MAH-ra (or Tammy!) — just TAM-ah-ra like CAM-ah-ra (ok, it’s not an exact rhyme, since most people say CAM-er-ah, but it’s a guideline). And I know that in the scheme of things, this is not a big deal — really, you can call me anything, just don’t call me late for dinner!
I have a lot of anxiety around names. I can’t retain them. I second-guess myself. I re-name people in my head and then can’t remember which name is correct. For an entire semester in college, I alternated between calling my classmate Doug and Greg because I couldn’t remember which was his real name. Yikes, I still can’t. Of course, alternating names was a crap-choice because really I was just being rude and lazy. Sorry, Doug/Greg. You were a nice guy. Apparently, my college-self didn’t think it was worth my time to actually keep track of your real name. However, as it always does, the karma-machine sought retribution for that misbehavior. Good job, karma-machine!
However, be assured that I am working on my name-retaining-deficiency. Names are really important and there’s really no excuse for being a lazy-ass in the name department. And as you can see in the About Me section, I’m trying to become an all-around-better-person. I think I can, I hope I can…
So… If I haven’t met you yet, then know that when I do, I may chant your name in a whispery-magical-spell-casting voice under my breath. Or I will call you by name 5-10 times during our 20 second conversation (yes, saying things out loud helps me remember). I seem muttery, I seem odd, but now there’s a 40% chance that I have your name imprinted in my memory. Yes!
However, there’s also a chance that I might have missed your name entirely because I was obsessing about whether I had food in my teeth while smiling at you and shaking your hand and not listening at all to your name. Gosh, did you even tell me your name? What did we talk about? Were you looking at the phantom spinach in my teeth? Argh! When we say goodbye, I’ll slink away to find a friend who knows your nom. Sorry. Sigh.
Despite my anxiety about remembering names, I’ve always been rather obsessed with naming things/people/situations. As a child, I owned three Baby Name books. And I read them. A lot. Having a baby was wonderful for many reasons, but getting to name her was like hitting the jackpot. My darling husband and I read through all 100,000 names in our Baby Name book. It was paradise! So, you can bet your tail-feathers that you’ll see some more posting about names/naming/what’s-in-a-name.
Ok, back to the beginning….
Anyhoos, rhymeswithcamera seemed to be a logical name for this site for the reasons above, but also because I’ve been thinking recently about the snapshots that we take of our lives, and how we share them, how we use them to remember who we were in that moment, who we were with, and what occupied our hearts and minds. Somehow, I see this site (most sites, actually) as a series of snapshots that are compiled over time into one of those slow-motion flip books. Slowly, slowly, a story emerges of a person, a community, a time, a place — all in snail-forward-motion through a kalidescope-accumulation of words, images, and ideas. Real-life-slow-time story telling. Or story compiling. Or story building. Does that make sense? This is not the whole story, but it is a story. Aren’t we all just bits of stories bouncing around in this box called life? So now I wonder…how do we figure in each other’s stories? What is this story that I am telling? What story are you telling about yourself (intentional or not)? What is the story that we will tell together? I’m excited to find out!
Welcome to rhymeswithcamera. I’m Tamara. I’m happy to meet you.