Its the first thing we are given when we are born, and its the first thing we are defined by. Many times we are given our names because someone else with that name possessed some quality or qualities that our parents admired and wanted to associate us with them. Our last names are even more defining because we usually have a general judgement about a person based on their last name and the general reputation of that family. But if you have ever been to an Al Anon, AA, NA, or OA meeting, you know that last names are not used, which I have found to be quite fascinating. Even in the Bible, many times last names are not used. Jesus is just known as Jesus. Ruth, Zaccheus, Abraham, Isaac, and the list goes on. There is a reason behind not using last names.
From the moment we are born, we are given the task of proving to the world that either we ARE the label our name suggests or we ARE NOT the label attached to our name. Either way, eventually we must come to terms with who we really are and detach from that label. It is sort of like removing a price tag and brand tag from an article of clothing. When the two are removed, we see the clothing for what it REALLY is, instead of adding more worth or less worth to it based on its brand name, which affects its price.
Growing up I was always embarrassed by my name……Bobbie Ashley Murphy. Although I am called by my middle name, in school my teachers, at the beginning of each year not knowing this, would call me Bobbie. I was always embarrassed of my boy name for more than one reason. I am a teacher now, and still, at the beginning of each year I hear that same thing…..Who is Bobbie? Your name is Bobbie? Just goes to show that you can never run from your past!!
My name is something I have had to come to terms with, not just because it is a boy’s name, but because it was my father’s name, which meant there was a price tag, and this price tag has taken me many years to accept. I tried for many years to remove the price tag and replace it with a different one, one that proved I was worth much more than the existing one suggested, one that suggested a different life, a better life. For me, the brand name Bobbie had a cheap price tag. There was no worth to the name because it was associated with addiction. It was associated with violence. It was associated with bad, with shame, with guilt, with unworthiness, with nothingness, and I spent a lot of my life trying to rip away the brand so I could be seen as worthy and wanted by the world’s standards. Today, I see what an expensive mistake this was! It was an expensive mistake because I was denying myself, I was denying my father, and I later denied my daughter by trying to rip away our very existence by ignoring the very truth of our lives. I tried to hide my brand name so people wouldn’t know the truth. I tried to hide it with good grades in the beginning and later in life with a nice home, perfection, and simply living a “counterfeit life.” It was an expensive mistake because living a counterfeit life is draining, and its exhausting, and it costs you all your peace, joy, love, and serenity trying to force things to be different than they really are. I was holding my father, myself, and eventually my daughter hostage in the name of a name.
Today, after a lot of painful experiences, I see the damage I created by trying to rip away the “brand name” out of my life. I now see how liberating it is to always be true to yourself and respect yourself and love yourself no matter what. Love is the ONLY thing that can see past brand names and price tags. Love is the ONLY way to free spirits. It is the only equalizer in the human race where all name brands and price tags are invisible. Today, I face my life as is. I am no longer ashamed or in hiding. I am setting my dad free because I see him for who he really was. He was a child of God who was hurting so bad and did not know how to free himself, so I am setting him free today with the truth, the truth that we are ALL worthy just the way we are, and until we stop creating, seeing, and trying to remove and manipulate brand names and price tags, there will continue to be inequality and suffering in our lives. I choose to live in love and see no brand or tag attached to people and label and define and judge accordingly. I choose love. I choose equality. I choose to be a free spirit and to free spirits from generation to generation, starting with my father, whose name I proudly wear today, and starting with myself, and with my daughter. Gandhi once said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” You can only do that by being real and authentic and facing yourself and your life. It can never be done by being a counterfeit. I would rather be a “real” penny than a counterfeit million dollars any day!!!!!
Most of us are given three names….a first, middle, and last. I associate my first name with my past, with my father, coming to terms with who I am at my core, and finally becoming free and at peace and developing compassion and understanding for my father, for myself, and eventually for my daughter. Although this is a part of my past, it will always be a part of who I am, a part of what led me to God, to my true name. My middle name, which I am called by represents the present, the only moment we can truly live in and love in. Last names always change, and they are the most defining, which is why I put the least emphasis and importance on it and the reason I chose not to use my last name on this blog. It is why I believe they were left off in Bible times and one of the reasons they are left off in AL ANON, AA, NA, and OA meetings. To me, not putting emphasis on last names signifies the limitless possibilities of the future when we leave people’s lives in God’s hands.
My name is Bobbie Ashley, a child of God. I’m pleased to meet you, child of God. My purpose is to be a free spirit and to free other spirits by knowing all as simply a Child of God…the only brand with a priceless tag. It is my hope and intention to convey a spirit of love, truth, and freedom in all I write.