Matthew Joshua

The Importance of Names and Pride in Oneself


MJ Wilson Morris '23, Contributor

My parents had basic criteria for the name of their first child. They wouldn’t take a family member’s name, and it couldn’t be basic. And, of course, my mother had to approve. After some time, my father was able to find two names that my mother loved, one in case of a boy, and one in case of a girl. However, after nine months and five days, one name was beloved, adored, and screamed from across the house, and another was forgotten. 

For fourteen and a half years, my name felt fine. It was unique, no one else had it, no could pronounce it, and no one could spell it. It was special, much like my parents always said I was. And I never really had any nicknames; my parents emphasized that even if others thought my name was hard to spell or pronounce, I should stand proud with it. Nevertheless, when I learned more about myself, I came to realize that I felt displaced in my name. 

High school was a time for me to start fresh. Although I had come out the previous year, I had yet to find a name I thought suited me, and I saw high school as an opportunity to be a different person. However, the name I used didn’t become me, but rather a different person. And the more people called me that, the worse I felt. I rebegan my search for a name, and decided to ask my parents what they would have named me, had I been born a boy. Matthew Joshua, or MJ for short. Both biblical names, courtesy of my priest father. Matthew, a disciple of Jesus, whose name means Gift of God. Joshua, another form of the name Jesus, means Messiah.

And in my mind, that’s who I was, MJ. Then others began using it, starting with my inner circle, my parents, sister, and godsister, and I almost felt like myself. Then family, god family, aunts, uncles and cousins. Then my new teachers, and new friends. And the more people used it, the more like me MJ felt. Although not everyone in my life knows me as MJ, it is still who I, and everyone I care about, sees me as. In fact, there came a point where I barely recognized my old name. 

I’ve always been me, no matter the names I had in utero, nor the name of my first fifteen years, nor the name of a year, nor the name I have now. My name reflects not only me, but what I love, my parents, who are deeply Christian, and their everlasting belief that I was a gift to them from God and am meant for greatness. And of course, just like my old name, it reflects that I am special.