Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Martha May Not Be My Name

Here's something you should know about me.

Sometimes I lie about my name.

My mom picked it for Biblical reasons. I can't even tell you how upset I was to be named for the shrewish gal in Jesus' crew. We all know Mary was the favorite.

Back to my dishonest nature...

Cecilia was one of my best friends in elementary school. She was tall, Swedish, and had calves longer than my entire torso. I envied the crap out of her. She was smarter than I was. Funnier. Prettier. Nicer even, dammit.

We would hole up in Cecilia's room watching New Kids On The Block music videos to figure out which to marry and what our joint wedding would look like. She would generously let me have high-pitched crooner Joe, but we both knew that if Joe had a choice, he'd pick her.

I was what you would call a midlist girl. I showed up, but no one really cared. I wasn't spectacular enough of a failure nor a success to be noted, but Cecilia liked me and that was nice.

My parents were big fans of sending me away to long sessions at brainy camps, only instead of being surrounded by awkward nerds, I had to deal with sophisticated, smoking Euro teens since I lived overseas.

Once summer, sitting cross-legged during camp orientation in a crowded gym floor, surrounded by effortlessly chic, lithe French and Italian girls, I introduced myself as "Cecilia."

A complete, utter lie.

But instead of taking it back, I smiled and said, "Ceci for short."

Here's what you need to know about this newborn Ceci - she is fearless and outspoken and witty and somehow ridiculously popular just by virtue of faking it. She strung along a hot, Yugoslavian* kickboxer twice her age. She aced her tests and spouted depressing French poetry to entranced masses. She ran rooftops. She broke into country clubs to play lousy tennis games.

When I returned to school, a part of Cecilia burrowed inside and came back with me. I never recaptured that height of awesomeness, but I stopped envying my friends. Instead, whenever I felt that tingle of "I wish I was like that," I would take a piece of my friend and burrow it inside myself.

I have Cecilia's confidence. Maria's daring. Alexandra 's savoir faire. Viviane's brashness.

So if you ever meet me and I tell you my name is Juliet or Sophie or something else, just go with it. I'm working on a little piece of Pens.

* It was still Yugoslavia back then.


Anonymous said...

This should be printed on a card and handed to every girl when she turns 12.


Gigi Pandian said...

I'm envious of your fake names and brainy camp experiences!

For the record, I was going to marry Donnie, and I lie about my name every day of my life. More tomorrow...

Adrienne Bell said...

I would have loved to have been someone else when I was young. I thought about lying a couple of times when I met someone new, but I never had the guts. I love that you did. :-)

Martha Flynn said...

Haha, Mysti, just wait until I walk around masquerading as you!!

Adrienne.."guts"...."sociopathic nature"...potato, pota-toe, am I right?

Off to sneak a peak at Gigi's post now.....bwahahahahaha. (And Donnie is doing rather well these days, isn't he, Gigi? I just saw him on that new TBS cop show I think.)

Juliet Blackwell said...

I would consider the highest of compliments to turn up at some event and have someone tell me: "Juliet Blackwell? Why, you're already here! Someone just came up and took your nametag!" And then I would happily masquerade as the awesome, amazingly cool Martha...the more I think about it, I'm thinking *I* might just instigate this evil plan...heheheheh!

Sophie Littlefield said...

wow martha, i have to tell you that i thought your name was cool from the moment i met you. even before i met you. it...begs to be belied, somehow. and that's a compliment.

Rachael Herron said...

This is awesome. I agree with Mysti - I wish I'd read it when I was 12. But now's good, too.

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