Have you ever considered how the name you were assigned at birth set the trajectory for your life long before you had a chance to decide what you did or didn’t want to do with it?
We dive into our own today and feature our cover of “A Sunday”.
I often catch myself thinking about things that should have no real merit or concern-able value but then find the longer I think about them the more it seems to invalidate that thinking.
Like have you ever thought about the name you were given and what it really says about you?
Or is your gut reaction to discern that your name doesn’t say anything about you at all because all that can or should be said of you should come from your character and daily actions?
What if your name is the driving force behind your character and is what is really propelling your actions on any given day?
Artistic types probably think about this more than any other categorizable group of people because at some point in our lives we’re forced to put a name to our projects and in a lot of ways the name given at our birth is the same. Mom and dad made a thing and now they’ve gotta name that thing.
The one for this project was easy – Jaimee Eat World.
It says everything you need to know in three simple words.
If you’re already familiar with Jimmy Eat World, it’s pretty easy to figure out why I adopted it for this project that focuses solely on works created by that band.
Whenever I’m retold the story of how Jimmy Eat World came up with the name though, I almost have to laugh and probably would if it wasn’t such an over-addressed topic even here in 2022.
I’d re-share the story but if you’ve made it this far into this podcast you’re no doubt already well acquainted with it and if you’re anything like me, you’ve caught yourself wondering if the band had ever had any sort of real foresight that this would be the name attached to themselves for a 30 year career (and counting) if they would’ve selected it to begin with at all.
They’re almost entirely too fortunate that a founding member of the band shared the namesake, else it makes for a really ridiculous nonsensical story rooted in apathy instead of what the band has brought to the table since which has pretty consistently been the opposite of apathy.
So there’s no real sense in trying to deduce what the name Jaimee Eat World says about me in particular aside from maybe I was lacking in creativity at the time or worried that anything other than what it is would be too cumbersome to find myself explaining and re-explaining every time someone asks me about this project – but that’s not really what I want to talk about today.
My name name.
Before diving too deep into it I’ll tell you, the summation of my given name sometimes leads me to believe it to be the basis for what I feel is a micro-level multiple personality disorder.
And before I continue, I’d like to encourage you to take a quick second to think about what you think your given name may have been the basis of for you as a human being.
I don’t want to guide you too deep into any direction, but just give it a quick thought and try to… try to put a name to your name.
Here’s an example if you’re having trouble:
Imagine being born into a Canadian family in a rural Ontario town and naming your child Wayne Gretzky.
He’s a hockey player, I’m sure you’ve heard of him. And in this example this new Wayne Gretzky was born a couple decades after the first.
His dad’s a big fan of the game and he hopes the name will encourage his boy to take a keen interest in the sport.
It’d make for a hell of a story if he grew up to exceed the level of The Great One.
Okay, so you get it, right?
Most of us are not named after famous athletes or people of historical significance. If anything I imagine most of us are just named after other people in our own families to carry on the tradition and namesakes of our own history.
In that way we are kept safe and given a sense of belonging well before we even enter the real world.
The trend otherwise of giving your child a quirky name like Apple or North is otherwise a newer one encouraged by celebrity and the goal of achieving notoriety made even more popularized by the advent of the internet and social media.
It’s follows that same thought process of our Wayne Gretzsky example. It’s setting them up for fame well ahead of their first audition or interview – or hoping to, anyway.
Alright so let’s talk about me again.
That’s the name my parents gave me.
Broken down into two syllables it’s no surprise I like to talk so much about myself, after all, it ends with me. It always ends with me. In fact they threw an extra e on the end of it just to keep the conversation rolling long after it needed to – really drive the point home. When you think you’ve made it, say it again.
That’s the name my parents gave me.
I’ve looked up what the name Jaimee means before and for the purpose of todays episode I looked it up again.
Of course I have to use the traditional spelling, Jamie, in order to get anywhere with that research because my spelling, J-a-i-m-e-e, isn’t really rooted in anything.
It’s made up.
It was carefully crafted on the basis of just making it a little different from the others without completely polarizing me away from the normal kids with the traditional spelling.
Okay it’s not really made up – my mom has always explained she read it in a book one day and just liked the spelling.
I believe that author, whoever they were, made it up for many of the same reasons I already explained.
Alright none of that is true.
It’s a real name and it’s been around for a pretty long time.
Depending on where you find your information it’s either English origin or Hebrew, but in either case it means “supplanter”.
Yeah, I googled the word, too.
Supplant means to supersede or to replace. Kind of like how I just did before where I said it was made up just for the basis of making it a little different.
That’s our story and we’re sticking to it because I’m running with that now for this podcast episode.
To be more specific it’s sort of a negative connotation. It’s not just to replace it’s like, to overthrow or to seize. To take.
Maybe a better example is how I’m re-imaging the entire Jimmy Eat World catalog and rebranding it as my own story. I’m seizing control of the catalog.
These covers are merely my Trojan horse. Hidden in plain sight within the confines of the castle wall until the time is just right.
Guys I just had a revelation and I think I can finally explain why I’m doing this at all – it was never my choice, it was the name I was given and so it was always going to happen this way.
Now if that sounds ridiculous to you then I think you haven’t been spending enough time considering the importance of the name you yourself were given.
Let’s talk more about me and my multiple personality disorder.
There were two moments in my childhood that I can recall that led to me wanting to change my name.
And I really, really wanted to change my name.
For a while I absolutely hated it.
The first came sometime around third grade if my memory serves me well enough.
Most of my friends growing up and well into adulthood have been guys, for whatever reason, that was just always the case for me. I had girl friends, of course, though, and one of my best friends was one. She was my neighbour so we spent quite a bit of time together as kids.
But one year she made a new friend at school in her grade, and it was the first time I felt a divide between myself and a friend.
See my neighbor was a year older than me which meant she was a grade ahead. And most of her friends tended to be girls – in that way we were very different. Sometimes I imagine we wouldn’t have even been that good of friends if we hadn’t been strategically placed beside each other on our street.
Her new friend was a girl named Kristen.
And this was something I envied and it was one of the first times I can remember thinking I wish I had a more feminine name.
I was already pretty firmly footed in the tomboy end of things because I was a sports kid with short hair and again, most of my friends were guys, so I was pretty aware of the things that made me different from the other girls.
I couldn’t do my hair in unique ways because it was always so short it could only ever sit like the bowl it was on top my head.
I found dresses and skirts restricting and difficult to play in and hated materials like lace and other girly fabrics because they itched my skin.
When the time came, I wasn’t interested in makeup because I’d already spent so much of my young life watching other girls obsess over their looks and couldn’t wrap my head around it all.
After all, why would I need to change myself for attention from boys when my birthday parties were often full of them? They were already here.
I was annoyed by Kristen for taking the attention of my neighbour.
It’s not as though we didn’t have our own groups of friends of course and it certainly wasn’t as though I spent every day with my neighbour. Far from it, honestly, aside from our daily trips on the bus we spent most of the week away from each other.
But for whatever reason I noticed that she was excited about this new friend and that translated to my young self as them being less interested in.. in me.
This is all about me.
I started to wonder though if my stupid name, my name that is actually way better known for being a name traditionally given to boys, was the problem.
The Cassandra’s, the Melissa’s, the Jessica’s, the Brittany’s … they all had big group of girl friends who all had very traditionally feminine names.
I guess I felt weird for not hanging out with girls as much as the guys.
And I kid you not guys this revelation led me to wanting to be called by my middle name.
That’s one of them anyway.
I’d wonder how my childhood might have been different if instead of going by Jaimee I had gone by Kristin.
And the other time I considered changing my name happened just a couple years after the first.
I’d already grown tired of having to correct people on the spelling and didn’t think it’d matter to just change it to the traditional spelling to make my life easier. I’d started writing it the quote-unquote normal way at school and on emails until my parents found out and my mom scolded me for it.
Your name is your name, you don’t just get to change it, even just the spelling of it. That’s what my mom told me when she found out.
Why be different for different’s sake, was my thinking.
I’d eventually go back to the original spelling I was given and decide not to fight it further. Why be normal for normals sake, my new way of thinning; Other people could learn how to spell it, as annoying as it would be for me.
Kristin is not my only middle name, by the way. Because why would 1 be enough?
My other middle name is Lee.
Which I’ve always felt a strange one. But it’s just because my mom liked Jamie-Lee Curtis’s name and the way it rolled off the tongue. So I’d be a Jaimee Lee for melodies sake. Firmly rooting myself in a musical encasing.
And then there’s my last name.
Jakob and Zak.
With a pesky little silent “C” in the middle to throw off anyone daring to read or write it.
Now that’s one I really can’t get the origin for. It’s such an uncommon name that even after spending hours digging through family records on Ancestry, I’m still not convinced it’s the original spelling of my family name. An imposter name.
All of this to say that I really have 5 names and two of those names have the same origin – James; And two of them are designed to have obscure spelling just because it makes them different.
So if I had to put a number on it I’d say I was born into having 5 personalities, two of which are confusedly looking at themselves in the mirror wondering which one is the real James without realizing that it’s not a mirror they’re stood in front of at all and neither of them are actually named James. More imposters.
If you look up a lot of traditional name meanings they’re pretty straight forward with their meaning. They might mean things like “Brave”, “Courageous”, “Tidy”. Very descriptive. And you might find that that’s totally fitting of your own personality.
But what am I supposed to do with my 5?
If I’ve often felt myself not quite fitting in with a real category or grouping of people and it’s entirely possible that I can blame this on the chaos of my namesake.
Because had I been born into any other name, it could have changed the entire trajectory of my life.
If I had been born into the Kardashian family for example, my future in reality TV would’ve been sold before I exited the birth canal.
If I had been born into the King family, I probably wouldn’t have been so apprehensive about submitting my first novel for publishing.
If I had been born into the Cyrus family, I’d be singing country instead of pop-punk.
You’d think something like a name should have no real merit or concernable value until you as a thinking, breathing, person with your own thoughts and feelings decide to convey them, but what if they’re the very basis of your entire way of life and the driving factor behind all your decision making?
There was a time in my life where I wanted nothing more than to act and tell jokes. Then there was a time I wanted nothing but to write. Then I thought maybe I could make it as an athlete. Then I became engrossed with music and the idea of engineering the next great records. And somewhere along the way I’d realize I was no individual version of these things but a culmination of them all, each one jumping forward when the time was more appropriate or when they needed extra attention.
Multiple personalities in a single-dwelling home.
A supplanter with no idea what she’s supposed to be replacing.
Alright, so have you had enough time to think about it? What does your name say about you?