Ann Dee Ellis has been hosting an 8-minute memoir challenge for the past little while. She gives a topic, and, as the title of the challenge indicates, you write about the topic for eight minutes. (The editing takes me longer than 8 minutes though!)
Day 4: Write about a time you had an adventure. When you did or said something unexpected. Maybe you lost some peoples’ respect, but did you gain anything?
It was time for a change.
I spent my freshman year of college in a long-distance relationship. This was before everyone and their dog had a cell phone, so this basically meant I spent my entire freshman year in my dorm… on the phone — a phone with a cord.
To say my social life was stunted would be an understatement.
The next two years were spent off campus in an apartment complex physically removed from BYU and all its Mormon “rowdiness.” The complex was huge, and it had its own culture, but being far from the social campus was kind of like living on the outskirts of town. I made friends, and I had a good time, but I never felt like I found my “scene.”
Truthfully, I didn’t really know what my “scene” was.
For my senior year, I decided to move into the neighborhoods to the south of BYU’s campus. This is where the “action” lived. Mormon action is different from other college campus action, you know. There’s no drinking or partying, but I tend to think people act just as ridiculous, if not more so. It’s fun, flirty, and fantastic all the time.
This neighborhood was adorable, and within walking distance of everything. I lived in a German-style house on a tree-lined street. Every house on the quaint street was full of single people my age, and everyone walked everywhere. It was social and fun all the time.
Since it was a new place, I decided to try something new.
Up until this point, I found I had a hard time being myself. Tall, quiet, and one who sits up straight, I think I gave off an air of “don’t talk to me.” I didn’t like this about myself, but I had a hard time breaking through the perception I presented.
I wanted to change the first perception people had of me, so I decided to go by a different name.
I’ve always been Rebecca — never Becky, Becca, or anything else. But I decided the formal ‘Rebecca,’ combined with my height, stiff posture, and lack of flirty socializing confidence was really cramping my style.
So I became Becca, a lighter, more go-with-the-flow version of myself. It doesn’t seem like much, but until this point, my brothers and cousins were the only ones who ever called me Becca.
When I first introduced myself as Becca, I felt like an imposter. My mouth stumbled on the word, and I was sure the person would see through my ruse.
But everyone bought it! And why wouldn’t they? Who questions someone’s name? It was silly to feel silly, but I couldn’t help but feel… silly.
Soon, however, Becca was just me.
And I found that people liked me better as Becca. They warmed up to me on the spot, and I had a group of new friends in no time. I never could figure out why. Did I become more relaxed as Becca? Did people perceive me as a less-stiff person as Becca?
Who knows, but hearing people call me Becca always took me by surprise, and actually made me feel closer to people. Since my family members had previously been the only people to call me Becca, it seemed that all these people calling me Becca were family. So maybe I warmed up to them and let my guard down quicker.
When my mom found out I was calling myself Becca, she was none too pleased.
“I named you Rebecca!” she insisted.
“Well, I’m having fun as Becca,” I snottily insisted back. And I was.
It was at this time that I met my husband. Having just lived through my happiest college summer full of friends (as Becca), I was freer than I’d ever felt. I behaved as myself, and people liked it. After a few silly misunderstandings, I warmed up to Ryan quickly and let myself be… myself. It wasn’t long before we were engaged.
I didn’t intend to have an adventure, but becoming Becca for a year changed me. I now knew how to be outgoing and confident about myself — on the first go-round of meeting someone. I think it helped me be ready to meet my husband.
I eventually didn’t need Becca anymore because I was confident as myself. So I went back to Rebecca. But since my husband met me during the year of Becca, that’s who I still am to him.
And I like it.