For easily the first half my life, I hated my name. No one could say it. No one could spell it. No one could go without making a comment about how it was “so old fashioned.”
Yeah, I know. The last time that Eunice was in the top 200 names was back at the end of the 19th century. I’m honestly surprised it ever ranked that high. It is still solidly in the top 1000.
Some would say it was an “old name,” as if everyone named Eunice just changed their name when they turn 65, but before that they were Lisa or Kimberly or Hope.
My name was so unpopular that I could never find it on a pen or a keychain. When my parents would travel, they would bring back a magnet for Erin or a license plate for Josh. I would get some other random shit that made no sense. And yet, to this day, I always look at the rack, just in case. This obsession was rewarded when I came upon a little shop in Leavenworth, WA that had “Eunice” emblazoned on everything—mugs, potholders, dishtowels, bottle openers. I wanted to buy it all, but I settled for two mugs (you know, in case one broke).
There aren’t really any famous Eunices. Hardly anyone knows who Eunice Kennedy is…and she’s a friggin’ Kennedy! I guess that’s what happens when your brothers are John, Bobby and Ted. And major props to you if you know who either Eunice Wentworth or Eunice Higgins is. Seriously, if you do without Googling it, leave it in the comments. I just might send you a mug with my name on it. I have one to spare.
There’s allegedly a Eunice in the Bible. I’ve read a lot of my Bible and I still haven’t found it. But apparently, she was a badass, so of course, I had to buy the book, Giddy Up, Eunice when I saw it. I still haven’t read it, but it looks nice on my shelf. I tell people it’s my unauthorized biography.
Eunice is popular enough though, that there’s a town in both Louisiana and New Mexico that share my name. But not cool enough to be in a more hip state like California or New York.
It wasn’t easy growing up Eunice. I got made fun of. A lot.
And don’t get me started on how my trainer could not say my name with a straight face the week I started working at Unisource.
My name has been the source of endless strife.
I was named after my great-grandmother, who raised my mom. My parents originally wanted ten kids, and as such, had names picked out for ten boys and ten girls. The top of the list was Erin Leigh, but when I was born, she said to my parents, “you know, there’s no finer name than Eunice.” And that’s how I got stuck with it (and how my sister got my sloppy seconds).
My whole life, I cursed my parents for being so amenable to please a dying woman. I wanted to be named anything else. I had made a plan to change my name the day I turned 18. I tried on a lot of names. But the day came and went and nothing really sounded right.
As I’ve gotten older, my name has grown on me. People still can’t pronounce it, and they still can’t spell it, but I like being the only Eunice in the room. Except last year at Alt Summit, where, in a conference of 2000 women, there were actually three Eunices in attendance (I only found one). Meeting someone who shares my name is so rare that it’s exciting. And I make people take our picture as evidence (see above).
I no longer mind the awkward pause before the inevitable, “um, how do you spell that?” I only huff slightly when I correct people’s pronunciation—although the huff is louder and more pronounced when I say my name and then you say it wrong. And I’m still amused that not only do I find other Eunices, but there was even another Eunice Brownlee. Although she died in 2017 and her obituary is still ranking on the first page of my Google search. I guess I can share.
After all, there’s no finer name.