That’s Not My Name

They call me “Hell”
They call me “Stacey”
They call me “her”
They call me “Jane”
That’s not my name
That’s not my name
That’s not my name
That’s not my name
They call me “quiet girl”
But I’m a riot Mary, Jo, Lisa
Always the same
That’s not my name

Ting Tings – That’s Not My Name

I wasn’t born Dara Sophia Romero. I was born on a hot summer evening, like a firecracker to two youngsters crazy in love…or maybe just crazy. I was given the name Dara Lynn Stanford. Everyone always asks the origin of my name. I’ve been told I had a great grandmother named Dora (thank goodness I was not given the exact name, I roll my eyes and look at the person with a blank stare when they ask if I’m an explorer) and because my father was Texan, I think he thought adding Lynn to my first name was sweet…me, not so much.

Every first day of school I would cringe thinking how my four-letter name would be hacked or changed into something totally different. I’ve been called: Dora, Dana, Darla, Doris, Donna….the list goes on and on. When autocorrect first came out, my name was always automatically changed to Data. However, the one that always gets me is when I’m called Dare-uh. Nope. It’s Dar-UH (rhymes with Star) and when people use the excuse, “Oh I have a friend named Dare-uh”, I want to respond, “I have a friend named Angela, but you don’t see me calling you by that name, Nancy.” I don’t. I just smile and politely correct them until I just give up and don’t respond when the don’t call me by my name.

Am I hyper-sensitive? Maybe. But I’ve spent so much time defending my name that at an early age I actually thought it would have been easier to have been named Donna or Lisa. And every time someone called me Darlin thinking they were being cute, I wanted to punch them in the throat. Growing up, I only knew of one other Dara. She is the Olympic Swimmer, Dara Torres, AND as far as I remembered growing up, she pronounced it like me. That was cool! The other cool thing was that I didn’t get confused for another namesake throughout my school years. The flipside, however, was I couldn’t push off what I did on another Dara…”oh that wasn’t me, that must have been Dara so-and-so.”

it’s from Urban Dictionary, so it must be true?!?

When I got married, I just made my life that much more complicated. People had a hard time with my first name, when they saw my last name, I could see the wheels turning on how they were going to attempt the fete of saying my last name. It did make my name unique. I remember a friend telling me I should use it as a design name because it would stand out like other well known designers:

And honestly, though your name gets butchered all the time, I think you’ll agree that many of the top designers had to pronounce their name a time or two before they were pronounced correctly. I still don’t know how to say Yves Saint Laurent or even how to spell Gevenchi (sp???).  And I’d bet money that it took a while for your idol Coco Chanel to say and spell her name right… Is it channel or Chanel? And in Italian is it “c” or “cc” that make the “ch” sound… How many times do you think Gianni and Donatella had to tell people their name is “Ver-saw-chee” not “Ver-saw-see” 

Yet when the opportunity to change my name came at my divorce, I decided I wanted to be the owner of me and what I introduced myself to others as, and not in a comical way.

I was reading a book at the time, Flying Lessons, it was a great tale of what the writer was learning about her own life by conquering a goal of learning to pilot. She talked about being grounded by God and her Goddess, Sophia. I’ve always loved the name Sophia and if Isaiah was a girl he would have been named that. To me, that name is a mixture of that girl next door, strength and allure. I gave measurable thought to change my name to Dara Sophia with Sophia being my surname. I did not want to keep Ambriz nor did I want to return to Stanford. I wanted to be remined of the power I carry every day and no disrespect, but those names didn’t do it for me.

I have a dear friend that calls me Madara, because she says, “I’m the Madonna of Albuquerque (I happen to know a few people which is a blessing and a curse so she said I only needed one name).” I considered the double first name, but then I realized my connection to my roots, my personality, and my love for life.

Dara is for the uniqueness that I carry. The homage to my parents that came up with the name that has been a beautiful burden but has helped me realize that I should be a strong with my convictions as I am in trying to get people to say my name correctly. I like the duality of Dara. In some Asian cultures is a male name, which I appreciate the oneness, the strength of it and the universality the name carries.

Sophia for my connection to Spanish and Italian culture (my background), for grace and elegance that I sometimes fumble through, and for my own personal goddess within.

Romero for my roots, for the pride in my heritage and for the man and woman who are at the heart of my family and my values, my maternal grandparents.

So I did it, I legally changed my name. Many loved it. Many asked questions. A few thought I changed it to be inline with my fashion design brand (it has a beautiful ring to it, Hopeless + Cause Atelier by Dara Sophia Romero, right?!). And, only one asshole, asked why I changed my whole name….but this person is really an asshole, so I didn’t pay much attention to it.

I love signing my name so much!

When people call me by my full name (Dara Sophia are now my legal first names…dropped the middle name), it makes me smile so big, and really pay attention to that person because it’s a melody to my ears and it’s like they know how much it means to me. It might be a little weird that I feel this way, but I do. I love how I’ve crafted my life and who I am. I’m so comfortable in my skin and that’s the power of changing things in your life to best suits you and brings out the best in you. I know Shakespeare wrote, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” I just think mine is more specific and defined, like a Princess Diana Rose.

With light and love,
Dara Sophia Romero (say it with me ❤)

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