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Loa’s Blog

December 12, 2019

What is in a Name?

Perhaps the difficulties that have befallen me are only the winter which will inevitably give way to the sunnier and brighter days of spring and summer heralded by the arrival of Lóa.

Shakespeare once made the inquiry, "What is in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." (Romeo and Juliet, Act II, scene II, 47-48) While, like Shakespeare, I think that one's name is not the entirety of who and what they are, I also believe that they certainly may shape who we are, perhaps reflecting something of our inner nature.

It is a common tradition in my mother's homeland of Iceland to name one's children after someone. I am named Lóa for her beloved aunt Ólöf Petrína, who went by the nickname of Lóa. In the Icelandic language, Lóa is the name of a bird which is called the European golden plover in English. Birds are often considered to be graceful musical creatures, although the gift of song is unfortunately one that I cannot lay claim to. As a ballet dancer, I at least aspired to this grace. As one with an aviary namesake ought, I spent the first eighteen years of my life fluttering, flitting, and floating about.

Naturally, my name is not a common one in the states where I live. In Iceland, where I number among 107 individuals who bear this first name, it is also rather uncommon. I would hate to go as far as to claim that I am as unique of an individual as my name is rare, but I will admit that I have never been one to conform to the norm and have always been comfortable being myself.

There is a rather sweet little song that tells the legend of the Lóa bird, the sighting of which is a sign that spring is near. The song recites a legend in which Lóa has come to sing away the snow and bid farewell to sadness, because she can. The Lóa bird speaks in the song about the coming of spring, sunshine, and flowers. Lóa tells the singer to stay awake and work, that there has been too much sleep, and finishes with the hope of summer. 

I highly doubt that I personally am much of a symbol of hope and rebirth for anyone. However, these concepts symbolized by my name provide inspiration for how I choose to live with my disabilities and embrace the future. Perhaps the difficulties that have befallen me are only the winter which will inevitably give way to the sunnier and brighter days of spring and summer heralded by the arrival of Lóa. The song also captures the essence of my work ethic, as I am not one to sit idly. This drive has been essential to successfully overcoming the challenges of my spinal cord injury, which requires an incredible amount of continual mental and emotional work to manage, not to mention the diligence required to retain and regain every physical ability that I possibly can.

Perhaps it is simply coincidence that I love fresh air and the warmth of sunshine on my face. Regardless, I was aptly named. A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but it is possible that a Lóa by any other name may not be quite the same. This may be a debate much like the chicken and the egg paradox: perhaps I have been shaped by my name, or perhaps my mother's instinct and intimate knowledge of her child was very true when she named me. I can only say that in reflecting on the meaning behind my name, I realize that I am very thankful that it was the one bestowed upon me.

The views expressed by Loa are not necessarily the view of the Ventec Life Systems, its members or the clinical board. These blog posts are the personal experiences of Loa. The blog posts are not intended to provide clinical advice or training related to VOCSN. Always consult a physician or trained clinician prior to using VOCSN. Please refer to the VOCSN Clinical and Technical Manual for detailed instructions, including indications and contraindications for use. VOCSN is available by prescription only.

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