Today on my way into work (yeah, going to work/school on your birthday blows) I got that feeling of dread that I get every year thinking, "What if no one remembers?" Then, that thought is quickly over-ridden by the fear that they didn't forget and they'll do something over-the-top and a bunch of people I don't know/like at the office will stare at me and wish me the empty and hollow "oh, happy birthday."
Welcome to Boyfriend's hell. The man is a saint to put up with my neuroses (even if he occasionally can't remember when my birthday actually is...)
So, enough about my birthday...sort of. Before I was born, my mom was certain I was a boy and she planned on naming me Michael. But, one day my mom was sitting in the waiting room at her optometrist's office and there was a little girl in the waiting room who was crying because she had to get glasses. Her mother was trying to console and called her "Jessica." My mom thought it was such a pretty name and one she hadn't heard a lot, so when it turned out I was a girl, my mom decided it was a fitting name for me. Little did any of us know that "Jessica" would be in the top 10 baby girl names in the U.S for the next 20 years, and it remains in the top 30 today. I was surrounded by Jessicas growing up. There were 3 other Jessicas in my preschool, 4 Jessicas in my elementary school, one of my best friends in middle school was Jessica, my bff in high school was/is Jessica, my roommate in college was Jessica. I couldn't escape.
Growing up surrounded by other Jessicas, I started to hate my name. I felt like a misfit and often wished I had been born a boy instead (yes, because "Michael" was far less common.) However, my attitude towards my name changed thanks to the best Jessica: Jessica Rabbit.
I never saw Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) in the theatres, but a couple of years after it was released, the Disney Channel used to play it at night quite often. I was addicted. I loved Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future and from watching Taxi on Nick at Nite with my mom. He never scared me in WFRR until (spoiler?) he turned into the psychotic toon with the scary red eyes at the end. But, I completely fell in love with Jessica Rabbit. She had a strong dry wit and didn't take crap from anyone. She was everything I thought a Jessica should be, not like the boring or bratty little girls I went to school with who thought boys had cooties. From that day on, I was determined to be an awesome example of Jessicas. It wasn't until I was older that I realized most people only liked Jessica Rabbit because of her enormous...erm...talents, but I didn't care. She was a beautiful character with attitude that I looked up to, and surprisingly Jessica Rabbit did not give me body image issues (that honor goes to the ads in Seventeen magazine, and the girls in school who nicknamed me "beanpole" and "pipe cleaner," thanks.)
After Jessica Rabbit sort of wained in popularity, I became obsessed with Jessica Wakefield and her wacky adventures, but mostly, I really just liked seeing my name written in a book. But when the one-hit-wonder song Jessie came out, I wanted to change my name to Jessie for a hot minute, until everyone else in middle school was going by the same nickname (now if you even think about calling me "Jessie" or start singing Jesse's Girl to me, stabbing will ensue.) With rise of Jessica Simpson, Jessica Biel, and Jessica Alba, I started getting self-conscious about my name again, I considered going by my middle name for a short while because I was tired of introducing myself and having people say, "Oh, like Jessica (Simpson/Biel/Alba) I love her! Don't you love her? Were you named after her?" Really?!?! If you want to get all technical, then yes, I guess I was named "after" them because they are all a teensy bit older than me, but did my parents decide to name me because of any of those particular girls? Don't be daft. I was born long before any of them were famous. Now I just go by Jess. Just Jess. However, I have been known to answer to "Excuse me" in the serving industry.
Well, I think that's enough narcissism for today? Don't you?
Did you know that Jessica is derived from the Hebrew name Yiskah?
The name Jessica first appeared as its now common spelling in The Merchant of Venice By William Shakespeare.
The name Jessica means foresighted, God's Grace, and/or Wealthy.
Did I mention today is my birthday?