What’s in a name?

by | Dec 20, 2023 | BLOG

Would not a rose by any other name smell as sweet?

Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet wished that their names were meaningless.

However, while the rose would still smell as sweet, one’s human identity – and meaning – is wrapped up in a name.

I’ve just changed my name from Sam Pope and if you want to know why I chose the name Sam Starr, read on.

There was a moment.. nearly 20 years ago.. when I was standing at a street fair in San Francisco wearing a pink tutu, striped tights and a waistcoat.. and I was transfixed by the words of a poet.

Rob Brezsny, who I remember as tall and thin with long hair and dark clothes, was surrounded by a small number of fair-goers, and over the hum of a large crowd, he recited his poetry on the sublime.

Something was happening to me – I didn’t know what it was. I was visiting my sister, Polly, for a much-needed break from all my self-imposed caretaking responsibilities, and Polly was working on a project about avatars, or personas, and how we bring different aspects of ourselves depending on who we’re with. She asked me which of my personas I’d like to step into that day, and with my playful tutu and metallic make-up the name “Star” came to mind. This part of me had been eclipsed by a ‘dutiful’ persona for too long. So, as I listened to the poet speaking about a dance with the sacred, I was transported to possibility – the possibility of a life where I would dare to bring more of Sam Star.

For years after that, Sam Star tripped and fell as her unbounded creativity and urges to be, become and explore got held between the extremes of impulsive, chaotic choices and the inertia of low self-worth and workaholism.

And now, twenty years on, I choose to step into this name in a more adult way. One where I accept that I am good enough as I am and actively engage in a playful dance with the sacred, where I seek to become without knowing where I’m going and in so doing feel more and more whole.

I am now officially Sam Starr, with two rr’s, the extra ‘r’ creating a name that’s a little less airy-fairy and a bit more grounded and grown-up.

Over the past number of years I have dedicated my life to a journey of personal and spiritual growth and to the desire of supporting this journey in others. I’m hugely grateful to all my family and friends who have continued to dance with me along the way!

Do you have a playful, joyful persona who you’d like to spend more time with?