What’s in a name? Everything and everyone has one. It describes what it is. It puts a label on existence. As I type I am using names for letters, sentences, paragraphs. Without names, essentially our world would be a mute one.
My name is unusual for a girl in both style and spelling. (And really, if you all are thinking my name is actually Blue then you’ve been sheltered for a long time.) Prior to my existence, my dad had a dog, a Golden Retriever, named Dusty. It was a male, because I know someone out there in Internetland is wondering. Long story short, the damn thing died. A while later my parents gave birth to an 8 pound 15 and a half ounce ball of flesh. While they had filled out the baby name books and searched high and low for suitable names (many in themselves a little unconventional, like Lotti) for this ball of flesh, I came out with no resemblance to any of the listed names. So, like any logical parents would, my dad decided that I should be named Dusty, after the dog, and that the great qualities of the dog would appear in me. My mother, for whatever reason, apparently agreed, and I left the Hospital as Dusty Dee. In the long run I suppose he was correct in his logic, seeing as how I have never urinated on the floor, marked my territory, or chewed up furniture, but then again there’s still time.
The Dee came from my dad wanting desperately to be a County Music star in little ol’ Cheyenne, Wyoming. He figured that if I had a name that sounded like a Rock Star then maybe I’d become one and he could live vicariously through me. Unfortunately for him, I didn’t become a Rock Star (obviously, or I wouldn’t be blogging for a whopping 9 followers). And secondly, it sounds more like a porn star name to me. “The Pizza Man Delivers More than Just Pizza, starring Dusty Double Dee”.
How this made any sense to my mom I’ll never know. I was the result of many jokes throughout elementary school, which I never really minded because I understood, even at a young age, that it was all in good fun.
I carried that name until I was 16, when I met my now husband while working at Burger King. A little back story, my mom is a cosmetologist. I made a perfect guinea pig for any new colors that came out, and since I had hair down to my ass she could play with every color she could find. To a 12 year old, this was awesome. From 12 until 19 I had every hair color under the sun, from blonde to pink to green to blue, I had it all. I loved it. I stood out in my mundane high school filled with sheltered kids who didn’t even know that Marlboro was a brand.
So at the time of my wonderful Burger King employment, I was rocking Blue Mayhem by Special Effects in two foot braided pig tails. I was the Pippy Longstocking of Cheyenne, and since it was a he said she said kind of town, I was what you’d call small town famous. Everyone knew the freak with blue hair wearing all black. Again, I really loved it. It wasn’t like people were asking me for my autograph, it was quite the opposite. Little kids loved me because I was so different, which made mothers hate me because in their minds, I was the dealer in the dark alley getting their kids hooked on drugs and tattooing them in my basement while I filmed amateur porn in motels. Really, I was just a 16 year old kid who didn’t even party. I was the anomaly, but stories spread like wildfire in a town like mine.
So there I was, rocking a head set and a name tag in the Burger King drive through, when a spiky pink haired kid with a lip ring came up behind me, grabbed my braid, and said, “I’m the new kid, what’s your name?” Well excuse the fuck out of me! “I’m just going to call you Blue, ’cause y’know, your blue hair.”
It stuck. My 18 year old boss thought it was so amusing that my name tag was then replaced with one reading Blue with little skulls beside it. From them on, no one even introduced me as Dusty. It was always Blue. I’m surprised they didn’t change my paycheck over to Blue. The new kid would bring his friends in on his days off and tell them, “Hey come meet Blue.” So I kept it. It sounded better than Dusty, and I liked it.
Years later, when aforementioned New Kid and I started dating, his friends, not even his mother, knew my real name. It was always Blue. We’ve been married now for about a year, dated for 4, and although his mother now calls me Dusty, I’m still not convinced that half of our friends even know my real name. It always has, and always will be Blue, no matter what color my hair is.
Looking back, I’m happy I was named Dusty. I believe that our names shape us into the people we become if even only slightly. If I had been named something like Michele, maybe I never would have learned how to paint a car, or repair body panels. I never would have married the love of my life, and I sure as hell never would have had the view on life that I do. Names are simple, just a word, yet they have more power than we as human beings will ever realize.
My name is who I am on so many different levels. Although I rarely use my legal name anymore, I have come to realize that Blue and Dusty are the exact same word, just spelled differently, because they are both me.