Some people believe in names being able to hold influence and traits. I suppose my parents were one of those believers, as my name Martha didn’t come from the Beatles song, no, but of course: it came from the bible. There’s not much to say here. We all expected it.
Martha. A name meaning lady or mistress of Latin and Aramaic origins, although my parents were far more focused on the biblical character’s traits. They named me as such because Mary’s sister was hardworking and devoted. They hoped that I would grow up as such when they decided to give me the name.
(They’d be lying if they said that the meaning carried over to my personal traits, though. I think I’m far from it.)
Growing up, I’ve always been met with characters on the television screen named Martha. Often, Martha would always be a mother figure. Feminine. Ladylike. Sometimes like the bible character. Perhaps my name’s depictions and associations furthered my detachment to the name itself. After all, once I learned of the bible story, I found myself having an immediate dislike towards Martha’s initial character. Maybe it’s my personal detachment to the concept of religion in general. Who knows?
All I know is that I would rather nowadays go by a variation of the other half of my first name: Cirila. It was my grandmother’s name, and as of now, I’m the only other inheritor of it in the family. I never found out why they chose me, given how both my mother and grandmother are no longer with us. Growing up, I never knew what it meant or where it was from, but once I found out about its meaning at a later age, I began to appreciate it. An opposite to how I felt towards the name Martha. I was not able to spend too much time with my grandmother, but at least I have a piece of her with me now, always.
I found out that Cirila had the same aura as Martha. A name of Greek origins, Cirila meant lordly. Again, I sometimes find it hilarious how my two names are often far from how or who I really am. I’m far from a mistress or a lord — that's for sure.
It can’t be helped. Names are our identities. With a name exuding femininity, this is why I again find myself going by a variation of Cirila nowadays: Cyril. Online friends often refer to me as such, and it’s a handle I’ve begun to use more often on various social media platforms. It’s still of Greek origin — it still means lordly, and it still has religious associations to it. Although often deemed as a masculine name, it has been recognized to be a feminine one nowadays as well, giving off (in my opinion) a neutral vibe. Something I think most parts of my identity (gender and otherwise) can comfortably associate with.
At the end of the day, what’s in a name? My friends may still call me Martha, others knowing me as Cyril. I’ve learned at some point in life to value my self-comfort over the expectations attached to my names. Feminine, ladylike, hardworking, lordly. I appreciate my parents for giving me such a name, but sometimes, I of course do have straying thoughts regarding it. Perhaps someday I can be known as such, but for now, I live in comfort knowing that I can go by a name that truly fits who I think I am.