This is my sister’s shirt.
My sister is a Junior at Johns Hopkins, and during her freshman year an organization on campus had a chocolate festival and gave out these shirts for free. My sister took one, wore it a few times, decided it didn’t fit her, and gave it to me. I wear it regularly.
These are her socks, too. My dad got them for her, but they were too high on her ankle for her taste.
We’re a close family, and, as you’ve probably guessed, none of us are averse to hand-me-downs. Used objects fill our house. We pick up lamps that were left on the curb. We buy furniture sets at yard sales. We get the majority of our decorations from eBay.
So I have a hand-me-down name.
My sister is Rachel Isabel, but if she were a boy she would have been Samuel Isaac. That’s me. My parents thought of my name four years before I was born, and it wasn’t my name yet. It was my sister’s name. I got my sister’s name because she was a girl.
I found this out last year, and I was pretty upset about it. Names should be something to call your own. Names are cool. Names prove you aren’t a number. Names make a first impression. Names are printed in the newspaper. Even if you have a pretty common name, it’s still your name. You own it. I don’t own my name. It’s my sister’s. I got the name just like I got this shirt. It was going to be hers, but it didn’t fit. I just ended up with it.
My sister is without a doubt the coolest person I know. She went to college barely more than a beginner at Ultimate Frisbee, and she made girls varsity freshman year. This summer at a tournament in Virginia she dislocated her toe during the second point, and she was playing again by the sixth point, but that’s only because no one would sub out during the fifth. She can run two miles without stopping, and does, regularly, to warm up so she can go swimming. During her vacation this year she worked as a lifeguard at a camp for disabled kids. She’s my role model. I do marching band because she did it. I play piano because I used to like listening to her play. I take hard classes because she passed them without breaking a sweat.
I’m sorry if I seem like I’m digressing from the subject of my name, but I guess my point is this: I like this shirt. It’s my favorite shirt. The fact that it was intended for my sister doesn’t bother me in the slightest anymore. It’s the same with my name. It’s thrifty. It’s recycled. For a while it was my sister’s, but now it’s mine.