Because naming a thing might call it into existence, categorize it, situate it within a structure, a frame to contain and limit it. Naming confers meaning and therefore purpose, gives it a space and place, a label and a frame by which we can stand back, look at it and perhaps think about it. Naming provides a vocabulary that can be shared. We can talk about it. Maybe understand each other.

Because naming a thing calls it into existence to be acknowledged, it can then be owned and ignored, used and abused, loved, liked and hated, wanted, desired and rejected, worshiped, destroyed, used as art or food or a conversation piece, or in rarefied circles in privileged rooms in the world, as a tool for lesbian processing.

Her smile. Her kiss. Her touch. Her love. Her name. This thing we have. The thing that existed before it needed a name. Because naming a thing is what we do. Name, name, name, name it into a corner. Explain it and say it. Name it all, everything. Damn you, name that feeling, that sense, that energy; name you and me and us and what you want, and how you want and what this is and what it will be and what you will be and what we can be and what we will be. Tell me what this is now that it wasn’t before. Name the thing that makes it all real. Tell me the true story of the origins of life on Earth and name the route that got us from there to here, then to now; us.


n. fear that learning the name of something—a bird, a constellation, an attractive stranger—will somehow ruin it, transforming a lucky discovery into a conceptual husk pinned in a glass case, which leaves one less mystery to flutter around your head, trying to get in.”

from: The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

From nothing comes something. Names come after. After the longing of unknown cause, the wish never whispered, the thought never shared, the feeling that explodes, the experience that sparkles and blinds, the inventions, the creations, the ache that flares, the thing, the something that was not there before and now is here, big as a house and wide as the sky; the feeling of her as she steps close…

Naming captures. Holds. Forever. Even if what is named changes, evolves, morphs into something else, fades, disappears, goes extinct or magically reappears. Like animals long thought vanished from the face of the earth.

A woman loves a woman. Some name it lesbian. Naming a thing calls it into existence, calls it to attention, heralds its arrival and achievements and failures and its place, its right to exist — and to be — in our very human world.


found on

About FS

Toronto, Canada. Writing about slices of life, the moments and minor details of which come into awareness or out of imagination and the spaces inbetween. On hiatus from writing ... at least for now.
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11 Responses to Naming

  1. Vee says:

    and some may come up with new ways to call themselves or to identify themselves with, but in doing so, they only open the door to the use and abuse of this new label. Everything must have a name so we can understand each other. It is not absolute. And perhaps we should stop being caught up on labels and start being intrinsically interested in others.

    • FS says:

      Yes, very true. I think it takes a degree of enlightenment that many of us have yet to attain to detach from names, and to detach from the assumptions and stereotypes attributed to names, labels, tribes, ways of being. BUT: I am thinking about it! 😉

  2. tomboy says:

    Some people hate to be labeled, put into a box, given a meaning. Some people hate being given a name as it says their sex and type of person they should be. My name is very pretty and makes you think of naive girls in summer dresses, even though I am the opposite. Names mean definitions, they mean years of trying to break through people’s perceptions of what they think the names ‘mean.’ If you choose a name, you choose a label, you choose a life. Naming anything is a powerful thing.

  3. bookishbutch says:

    🙂 Yep, 🙂 you have rendered me wordless:-)

    • FS says:

      Oh my goddess, I read on the wall of the women’s washroom in a Tim Horton’s on the TransCanada Highway between here and Montreal that there’s an award for that! Thank you 😉

  4. lbqresearch says:

    What beautiful prose! You remind me of my long forgotten dreams of being a novelist.

    Instead, I’m a lesbian doing health behavior research in our community. This study is on gender presentation and substance use in lesbians, and we are looking for womyn over 18 who self identify as lesbian bisexual or queer (LBQ) to take a 25 minute survey on

    I would so appreciate it if you helped my get the word out about this on your blog, email facebook or whatever! Research is important because health care providers use studies like this one to make decisions about our care.


    • FS says:

      Thank you. Perhaps the dream will come back. I’ll keep the link in your comment. Very brave of you to do such a study in Jamaica: we hear it’s not always a society tolerant of LGBTQQ….etc., Good luck.

  5. kodamae says:

    “A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day.” (E. Dickinson)
    Affascinante riflessione… naming is quite a magical act, a formula (that must be murmured with care, timing and a good wand), especially for love. Aimonomia, getcha! 🙂

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