Mari's Moments

How popular is your name?

In 2015, the top names were Emma and Noah.
In 2015, the top names were Emma and Noah. The Associated Press

As a young girl, I dreaded having a substitute teacher in my classroom.

When he or she would call roll, there would always be a long pause. I knew that pause was because of me.


In the worst instances, the sub would skip my name all together, then ask at the end of the role call: “Did I miss anyone?”

So, I would go through the embarrasing ritual of saying my own name outloud amidst the giggles of classmates.

“It’s Maricar (MAH-REE-karr).”

Even as an adult, I stopped giving my real name at restaurants because once the hostess rudely told me that my name was too hard: “Get a new name.”

Every year, the Social Security Administration releases a list of top baby names. In 2015, the top names were Emma and Noah. It’s the third year on top for Noah and the second in a row for Emma, which was also No. 1 in 2008.

I look at the list never expecting my name to make the cut, it’s never been popular. Of course, you can check these lists and see for yourself:

This year, however, I found a great tool that looks up your name and where it ranks on the list. To my astonishment, my name was ranked No. 13,504 on the list and a total of 6 newborns were named after me... um...have the same name.

Data curated by MooseRoots

Picking a baby name is one of the most exciting times for a parent and my husband and I chose unique names for our boys, one made it on the list and the other did.

Whether you choose a popular name or unique name, it’s important to realize what you call someone matters. It’s the starting ground of anyone’s identity and finding out who we are.

I feel for the parents who called their child Isis, which previously was associated with the Egyptian goddess of the sky and nature. Recent events have associated the name with the Islamic extremist group.

For the last 15 years the name Isis remained steadily in the middle of the pack of the country's top 1,000 names. In 2015, the name dropped completely off the list because its an acronym for that militant group.

I’m thankful my parents chose a name that stood out and uniquely defined the person I’ve become. At an early age, I had to learn to say it outloud in front of my peers and be proud of myself and my heritage. You can’t move forward in this world if you don’t know where you’ve come from.

Now, when people hear my name for the first time, I’m asked to pronounce it so they “can get it right” and often they remark on how “cool” it is.

Whether your name is popular or not, don’t hesitate to own it. I did.

Say it with me: Maricar.

Maricar Estrella: 817-390-7720, @maricare

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