What's In A Name?

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Whistle and Bango customised embossed bangle

A London-based jewellery brand reached out to me in March and offered me the chance to join their brand ambassador programme. Having been a fan of their jewellery since last year, I jumped at the chance. 

However, I no longer feel comfortable now in endorsing the brand since they decided to infringe my copyrights and found it to be ok to do so, hence why I no longer give the brand a mentioning on my blog. This has happened after I've published this post, I will make amendments accordingly.

Known for their incredibly high-end quality postcode bangles, the brand is currently working on a lighter version. This impeccable piece of jewellery comes in either cream or mint and has your initials embossed*. In times where personalisation plays an immense role and people like to showcase their identities, I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about names and their meanings in today's post.

Whistle and Bango bracelet

Names - something we all share, but still make every one of us highly individual. Next to our quirks, genetics, looks and likes, our name is the most powerful element of identification that makes up our personality. Some people love their name, others may change it, such as my blogging friend Olivia who speaks up about name change in her recent post. 

However, to many of us, our name is precious and carried with pride. These days, we love to display our names - may it be on personalised handbags, name necklaces, imprints on mugs, or initials embossed on a piece of jewellery. Our name is not just a reflection of our personality, but an accessory we're proud to show off. 

My name is not that popular that it gets printed on kitschy souvenirs but it’s definitely not that exotic after all. I mean when our parents gave us our name they had an intention right? Firstly, to give us identity and secondly, something unique that would accompany us for the rest of our lives. In the end, I do believe that our parents have chosen wisely when it comes to our names as they mark us for a lifetime.

According to Onomastics (the study of names and their meaning), my name 'Carolin' originates from Old German/Old English and means 'The Free Spirit'. Indeed, I am. I pretty much spent half of my childhood growing up without my parents and I enjoyed a carefree life without rules and overprotection. In post-GDR Germany during the early '90s, I had to grow up fast which has made me a very independent woman. Even today as an adult, I love my space and freedom. I'm also interested in art and culture which also reflects the free spirit in me and only underlines how precise my name actually reflects my personality. Do you know the onomastics of your name? 

I do get that we're all super busy and now and again make careless mistakes, but having grown up in the German society, where addressing, for instance, a hiring person incorrectly can catapult your CV straight to the bin, wouldn't it be more appropriate to be more care-, and tactful with our names? I've lost count of emails that start with 'Dear [InsertMediaContactNameHere]', or 'Hi Blog Administrator'. Sadly, it seems that incorrect spellings and ignorance of names have become common practice and 'standard' nowadays.

I see my name as a big part of my personality, so if someone doesn't pronounce or spells it correctly, I do take a little personal offence. Whilst I don't mind the occasional 'Carolyn', which feels flattering to me, it bothers me a lot when I get called 'Caroline' (rolls up my toenails). I also had 'Christina', 'Charlotte' and someone once called me 'Laura'.....yeah whatever. It's an indicator to me that the person hasn't even bothered about the most obvious thing when addressing me. Do you feel the same? Or am I too oversensitive here?

Whistle and bango personalised bangle
Whistle and Bango London embossed bracelets jewellery

I'd love to know your opinion on this and also, where this attitude has come from as it seems to clash with the current trend of displaying initials on your clothes, accessories or even your desktop background (the new Chrome Momentum). How important is your name to you? 

Thanks for reading, 

Till next time, 

*PR Sample

What I Know About Love

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Valentine's Day stories

When you wake up on a Saturday morning with your blog voice in your head, then usually this is a good sign. However, when your blog voice decides you should write about something as personal as the topic ‘love’ your initial reaction is a big massive NO. 

As I’ve said in my I'd Never Blog About post, certain topics simply do not belong on the internet - relationship issues and emotions being a part of it. But, since you had little motivation and you should be grateful that a text has finally come to you, you think again and then you decide to publish the post anyway because it’s your two-year blogiversary and it kind of screams for a special and unusual Valentine’s Day post. So here you go, I’ve hit that publish button (and feel free to judge me).

It’s often said that people born in the zodiac sign of Gemini are very fickle and have a short emotional span. They don’t bind themselves to someone and ‘love’ is just another adventure with no true intentions behind.

Well, this isn’t true for me. I don't fall in love easily as I have strong values of loyalty, faith and romance. So far it has happened four times in my life and three out of those four, I dated. In most cases, the relationship turned into a long-term one. I’m very committed and loyal and if I’ve fallen head over heels for a man, he can be sure he has my full attention and heart. 

Be prepared for a cheesy line here, but I’m a terrible romantic. I believe in ‘love at first sight’ and the ‘happily ever after’. The mere thought someone apart from my family wants to spend the rest of his life with me is something that melts my heart. It is something I aspire in life as to me, love is the most precious gift someone can give to you.

Not everyone, though, knows how to handle or value such a gift as I had to learn the hard way:

1. The Unreciprocated Love Part 1

The first time I fell for someone was at the tender age of 14 and it was pretty hard. Mainly, because he was super handsome, very quirky but funny and he had a tendency to get himself into trouble. I loved that rebellious side and if he would have loved me the same way I did, we would have (literally) conquered the world.

You can guess that those seven months I dated him didn’t turn out too well. It was a constant up and down. He had mood swings, sometimes he would disappear for days and he made it a big secret that we were dating. Every meet up was private and mysterious – proper teenager insecurities. Whilst I was pretty serious with him, he wasn’t. To him, I was just one girlfriend of many that he had at the same time. 

Apart from having multiple girlfriends, he was also after my friend and thought dating me would bring him closer to her. Years after we split up, I would find out about the true reason why our relationship ended, but at the time, he blamed it fully on me. His parents went through a divorce and suddenly from one day to the other, he decided to move away to live with his dad – without telling me. When I finally got him on the phone he made me feel guilty and accused me to be the one who messed up. He manipulated me emotionally so well, that I struggled with insecurities for many, many years.

Now as an adult, I know this was all teenager crap and obviously at that age, no one has 100% true intentions, but I really had feelings for him, and he just hated me for that – which he made me feel in every single moment we met, we talked, we interacted.

I last saw and spoke to him in 2002. We met randomly at a fair and the conversation was massively awkward. I still had feelings for him, but I couldn’t cope with it any longer, so I turned around and walked away from him.  

2. The Love Based On Mental Attraction

Heart-broken at 14, it took me four years to recover emotionally and start dating again. I set my eye on a classmate who moved school and we took our A-Levels together. He was different to all the other guys in school: handsome, sensitive, mysterious and massively intelligent. You could talk with him about art, have sophisticated discussions and literally never stop finding mutual interests. He was polite, he listened, he had manners, he was shy and I found that very attractive. He brought some peace and harmony into my life which kept me down to earth and relaxed.

Our relationship lasted for seven years and it went through all phases a relationship could possibly go through long-distance, then back to living together happy and tough times. 

Though he was smart and friendly, he would barely take me out. It was me who paid for holidays or nights out and he never had the drive to achieve something in life. I’m very ambitious and set myself aims so when his mentality of laziness kicked in, it made me feel bad about myself. 

His family never accepted me as part of theirs and it all climaxed when he wouldn’t make a move towards getting engaged. His words: ‘someone else better could come along’. This caused a lot of mistrust and the moment when I realised that I was seen as an option rather than a partner – so I made a move.

Valentine's Days Love and Heartbroken stories

3. The Love Based On Physical Attraction

The guy who was smart and intelligent lacked one thing: he was good looking but I didn’t find him physically attractive. This may sound super shallow but to me ‘physical attraction’ plays the same big role as ‘mental attraction’. So with guy number #3, my biology basically told me to go for him. Sorry, but the natural drive took over and well…I went for it and it turned out well.

I wasn’t looking for a serious relationship but it actually worked and he became my second long-term partner. We worked on it and cared for each other so the physical attraction grew into love. Though he wasn’t so much into art and culture and sometimes I couldn’t talk to him about academic stuff, he adapted to me (and vice versa) and we found common grounds to work on the relationship.

4. The Unreciprocated Love Part 2

At some point in my life, I met HIM: smart, funny, positive attitude, ambitious, career-driven, polite, extremely good-looking, sexually attractive, accent to die for – the kind of guy who excites you, who can make you feel super happy every time you see him and you just want to run away with him #romanticisingover. Sounds too good to be true, right?

What do you do when you meet someone so gorgeous and amazing? You make a move. With all your bravery and excitement, you tell him in a moment of massive irrationality how much he means to you and you hope he feels something for you, too…..which he doesn't..... and then you fall pretty hard to the ground that is the reality. Though embarrassment and rejection were part of the risk when you decided to make the move, you wouldn’t have actually considered those two to be actually happening.

When you met THE one, perfect in every single way, you can be sure, someone else has spotted that man too. In this case, you’ve come too late and he’s already taken.

Every day suddenly becomes a challenge and you're thinking: can I say hello to him or will he think I'm giving myself hope? You keep to yourself and give him the silent treatment, pretending nothing has happened. 

But really, all you want to do is to go over to him, give him your best smile and just spent time listening to what is important to him, what he cares for, laugh with him, find out his hobbies/favourite colour/favourite music/favourite TV show, or if he is a Sainsbury or Tesco/ Snoozer or Get Up Straight Away/ Dog or Cat person, what his plans are for the weekend (or better not, because they would include his gf) and if he would fancy going out with you for lunch or coffee some time.... You want to be the one person he needs the most in his life, but you'll never get that chance.

Your mind keeps saying 'no' and you try to accept the situation. Your heart, on the other hand, says 'yes', so those two are constantly conflicting with each other, until you become an emotional zombie, trying to avoid any sort of interaction. I guess this is part of the self-protection mechanism which kicks eventually in and makes you look massively immature. Though I didn't want any of this, it was happening and at the end of the day, I found myself crying to sleep.

But then all I wanted for him was to be happy – even if it wasn't with me and it hurts to accept.

This, my friends, is what love is to me: unconditional. Love is demanding, it is pain, it is work, it is butterflies and unicorns, it is complicated, it is effortless, it destroys, it brings together, it is sweet, it is enriching, it is ecstatic, it means sacrifice, it is a change, it is the best thing in this world to be in love with someone special. 

One moment, it can make you feel high and suddenly you’re productive as hell and you feel invincible and in the next moment, it just crushes you. Luckily time will become your best friend and you will sooner or later get over it and continue the search, which gets harder each day and the older you get.

But I guess in the end we all want the same: survive the cruelty of reality and come home to someone we can snuggle up with and who is just as crazy about us as we are about them. Right?

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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