A is for Audrey
Audrey is the name my parents gave me – which makes me think of Lady Bird – the movie, where the girl renames herself as an act of rebellion, only to think about it differently as she gets a little bit of perspective.
As for me, I am actually called Gail Audrey – but even my parents NEVER used the name Gail. It was given as a sign of respect to my departed grandmother – Gertrude. Speaking of whom, I had hardly heard anything about this grandmother of mine, until a few years ago when my father told me how much he had cried when she died, too young, while he was still at university. And how he felt almost ashamed to be in such grief. ‘Men must be men,’ was the message in his family. His father had already lost a previous wife. His brother had lost a mother. They were hardened, and he should have been too. I rarely see my father’s vulnerable side. He has covered it up with rational logic, with scientific understanding, with innovation, with control over what he could control.
And Audrey too, she hides behind her second name, her middle name. She has a secret first name that no one (but my faithful blog readers and a few others) know of. Audrey has suited her well. Beginning with the first letter of the alphabet, a first child, an independent woman, in old Shakespearean English, Audrey means noble, which Audrey has always wanted to be, but never felt quite there. What does it mean to be noble, anyway? Proud and arrogant, or is it being born in the right place at the right time? Is it a state of mind? Wait – dear Google – what does it mean to be noble?
Noble: having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles.“the promotion of human rights was a noble aspiration”
Aha, so perhaps I do have some nobility in me after all. I do my best, at least. I feel this blog is meandering. Where is the story, you might ask?
Once upon a time, in a state called California, there was a girl named Audrey. She grew up thinking she was very different from many of her classmates, just because she loved to daydream, and read books. She was a bit of a tom-boy too!
One day, her parents took her out of school and sailed around the world with her. Now she knew she was different. But at least now she had a reason; she was a ‘boat girl.’
In high school, she wore a t-shirt from Tahiti, an island she had visited a few years earlier. But Tahiti sounds similar to the word in Hebrew (she now lived in Israel), ‘ta-i-ti’ – which means “I made a mistake.” Audrey made lots of mistakes, because apart from being an unusual person, who had only her own moral compass to travel by, she also had lived outside of peer society for a few years. Then she moved to a new country where she was definitely a fish out of water. In high school it’s hard enough to fit in even in your own culture. She was a friendly, outgoing person, but still, on the edge of the group. She wasn’t really a group person, after all.
And eventually, Audrey grew up, married, had kids – the great equalizer – moved to yet another country, got divorced, got remarried – and now she is a unique being at a time in her life when it’s okay to be different. Not too different, though, after all, the Dutch do like you to fit in. After a certain age, and with a certain amount of internal strength and resilience, Audrey is finally learning that she is fine just as she is.
And that’s our first letter of the alphabet challenge (which I just discovered was an April Challenge, but, so what? I like to be different, right?)