What’s in a name?

My name is Monique Judge.

My mother said she was going to name me Tiffany Janine. I don’t think Tiffany is a bad name; my best friend is a Tiffanny, and she is one of the most awesome people I know, so if we ended up having homophonic names, that probably would have made us cooler as friends. People could refer to us as the Tiffannies, and we’d be these awesome superheroes with fabulous wardrobes and lots and lots of purses.

Alas, my mother instead played ghetto bingo and picked my name out of a bag that her coworkers had put suggestions in. All throughout elementary school, I was one of two girls named Monique in my class. Annoying.

My middle name is something I rarely reveal. Most people don’t even know my middle initial. I think the only place it appears in print is on my driver license. I know of other women with the same middle name and some women who have it as a first name, but I’ve only come to know them as an adult; as a teenager, all the people I knew with my middle name as a first name were boys, and I’m sure this is what led to me never speaking it aloud as if it were Voldermort or something.

Once upon a time, when you had to explain to people what blogs were, my blog was the number one result in Google searches for Monique. Since then, it has been replaced by references to someone with an accent/apostrophe separating the two syllables of our shared name. I’ve always wondered if that’s how her name appears on her birth certificate or if she simply did that to set herself apart as she eased on down the road to stardom.

The same Monique who followed me from classroom to classroom in elementary is still in my life today, but I don’t encounter too many women named Monique on a daily basis; I think that name went out of style in the early 80s, and those of us named in the 70s are like unicorns, so when I see them, I shout them out and we smile at our mutual sparkliness.

I used to fantasize about changing my name; I even thought about writing professionally under a pseudonym, but as I moved into journalism, using my given name was much more practical not to mention ethical, and now it is as big a part of my image as the brands I am building, so I claim it and put it on the things I am proud of.

Monique Judge is generic enough to not have me discriminated against when submitting my resume for jobs; it is very nonthreatening, and it looks so official on my bylines.

It looks good on awards too, and I won three of them last week at the Journalism Association of Community Colleges SoCal conference; that was a nice punctuation mark to my career at El Camino College (I miss you guys!).

I have a new appreciation for my name and a greater respect for it.

My name is Monique Judge. Hi. How are you?


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