My name is telling of what my parents dreamed for me. They dreamed I would be an independent and fierce woman like the person I was named after. I came along in 1977 at the height of popularity of the television show The Bionic Woman with its lead role heroine Jaime Sommers. This legacy has been a whisper on my shoulder as I have grown.
My name has been a way for me to connect with others. When I meet a fellow ‘Jaime, Jamie, Jaimie’, we have an icebreaker conversation topic- how do you spell your name? Amusingly, there is a cohort of women in their 30s or 40s walking around who also had ‘dreamers’ as parents and can claim the same namesake as I.
My name was an embarrassment for me as a child. I didn’t like having a uni-sex name. I would sweat on the first day of class in grade school, praying to God that I didn’t have any ‘boy-Jamies’ in my class. The role call on the first day felt like it took days to get through. One year in fourth grade, I cringed with a flushed face, not once, but twice, during role call as other Jaime’s were called. I blew a sigh of relief when I realized that two other Jamie-girls were just as relieved as I that there were no Jamie-boys on class. I have to believe that Jamie-boys probably lived an equally torturous adolescence during first day role call.
My name occasionally gets me into a verbal battle with old-timers. My eighty year old new-patient will say, ‘I thought you were going to be a man’ on our first meeting which is a lovely way to start a patient-clinician relationship, right! Even after I calmly report that Jaime is both a man’s and a woman’s name, I will have old-timers tell me that they’ve never heard of such a thing.
The name, Jaime, with an A-I-M-E, has taken me through life not without adventures, but I like it that way.