I was talking to a friend the other day and he called me by name. It hit me that my name doesn’t ever feel like me, and I asked him if he felt like his name fit him. “Hell, no,” he said, “I have no idea where they got that from!” I’ve never felt like Sharon is my name. I remember a Sharon that was in my school, and she was this beautiful tall goddess with long, straight hair. That was my hallmark for a girl named Sharon. She seemed so classy and well put-together, and, well, I’m not.
I was named by Daddy while Momma was knocked unconscious as they did with childbirth back in those days. They had planned to name me Michael Jerome as I was definitely going to be a boy. When I was born, well, obviously, I was not a boy. So, Daddy made my middle name the same as Momma’s, and chose the name Sharon. I don’t think he was naming me after anybody, he just liked the name. It is a pretty name, but I just think it is ultra-feminine and classy, and I don’t think I’m either. I do like the way the middle name Kay makes it a little less formal, and I choose to use Sharon Kay more than I like just using Sharon. Someone told me the other day that the name Sharon King sounds like a journalist’s name. Maybe that’s what Daddy was thinking when he chose it.
According to Wikipedia, the name Sharon was at first a male name. In the 1920s, it first appeared as a female name. By the 1940s, it was one of the most popular names in the country for about 10 years. Then, it began to decline in popularity. Click here to see the popularity figures on the name Sharon over the years or to search for your own. I remember Tammy being the most popular name when I was growing up. It’s a cute name, and I always wanted to be a Tammy. It just seemed like so much less to grow into. I could be a little wacky and pull off Tammy. I just felt a little intimidated by filling the shoes of Sharon. The name comes from Hebrew and means “forest” and refers to a coastal plain near Israel. There is a shrub called the Rose of Sharon.
The first celebrity I remember named Sharon was Sharon Tate who was an actress and was murdered by Charles Manson’s gang. I researched her life after the movie because I was so interested in an actress named Sharon. What’s in a name? If it’s yours, there is an identity that somehow marks you for your entire life. I’ve known people who have changed their names, but I’ve known very few bold enough to do it. Most people stick with them even if they don’t like them. For me, I think I wanted to know what a Sharon looked like, felt like, and lived like so I could somehow grow into it. What I saw in Sharon Tate was long, straight hair – something I’d never have. But, she did have these strong cheekbones and a sultry quality that photographed well. She was stylish, and she lived somewhat on the edge. Sharon Stone was another famous Sharon. I cut my hair short because of her hairstyle. I did it because it was getting rained on everyday in Seattle, but I embraced the short style because it looked so sexy on another famous Sharon. Maybe that’s what Sharon looks like. I liked the sexy, short cut on this bold, brassy former porn star turned famous who had the audacity to bare herself in Basic Instinct in a shocking manner. Maybe that’s what a Sharon lives like. And, so I cut my hair.
I’ve been told time and again that I look like Sigourney Weaver, and I would agree. There have been times I resemble her more depending on our hairstyles. We have that same strong jawline and masculine features. I hear it all the time when I am without makeup. One time I stepped out of the shower in the baths in Hot Springs AR, and the attendant who was holding the towel for me asked if anyone ever told me I look like Sigourney Weaver. “All the time,” I told her. She looked at me and said, “Are you her?” I laughed and assured her that if I was Sigourney Weaver I wouldn’t be going home that day. I’d be there for at least another week. But, I like the compliment all the same. I think the name Sigourney would fit me. I’ve always thought I should have a name that is less formal, maybe a little more masculine and different. That’s how I picture myself inside. I’ve had people tell me I always look put together, but I don’t feel that way. It’s probably an over-compensation for how messed up I feel inside. Somehow, being put together on the outside balances my fragility on the inside. The problem is that people don’t see the inside, so only I, and those closest to me, see the beautiful mess inside me.
I’ll never change my name. I’ll always be Sharon Kay. There’s probably some Sharon looking at me and saying to herself Is that what a Sharon looks like? If there is, I hope she sees something approachable. I hope she sees that being a Sharon means it’s okay to be herself with all of her flaws and imperfections. I hope she desires to express herself in fashion or in her own creative pursuits or in her style of living. That’s who I want to be. I just want to be me. There is a Sharon Kay King that is a gospel singer, and I get friend requests from her fans all the time on Facebook. I’m sure they are a little confused when they see me with all my craziness and think I’m this gospel singer. I’m not that, for sure. I can’t sing a lick. But, I can dance. And, I can be Sharon Kay – until my last exhale.