They Call Me, Leste…

My name isn’t particularly common. I haven’t met very many Celeste’s. I could probably count them all on one hand.

Nicknames growing up were always really difficult for me. Things that rhyme with Celeste usually  fall into the categories of inappropriate or cheesy. I’ll leave out the inappropriate ones. I never liked them. Ever. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “Celestey”, “Celestey-Poo”, “Celestial”…you could probably come up with a few on your own.

I’ll even give you a prize if you come up with one I haven’t heard before

{just kidding…}.

My name was never on a magnets or on a fake license plates at tourist shops or Disney World. I was really special because people who got me gifts with my name on them had to have them specially made…maybe more of a pain than special, with a $5 additional charge.

I avoided drinking Celestial Seasonings tea because I didn’t want people to think I was only drinking it since my name was in the title. Maybe that’s secretly why I favor coffee, or it just makes me even more of my father’s daughter. I even went through a phase where I desperately wanted to change my name to something more common, but my parents weren’t buying it.

My mom always calls me Bugsy, and my dad always calls me Sweetie, nothing actually shortening, condensing or reworking Celeste. They chose Celeste because it was a family name, my mom’s great-grandmother was named Celeste. Meaning “heavenly” or “blue skies”. Of Latin origin and a popular name among early Christians. When I would meet or read about another Celeste it was like we had an instant connection. You don’t stumble upon a new friend, Celeste, every day.

So as I went back and forth between loving my name, hating it, and wishing that I had a normal nickname, like a normal person, something happened that didn’t make me “normal” anymore. Something happened that defined me as something unique…

When I was in high school, my closest friends did away with the inappropriate and cheesy nicknames. Well, these friends never even started with those. Bless their hearts. These friends just shortened my name to “Leste”. I can’t tell you why or when it happened but I loved it from that moment. My best friend jokes that it sounds better than “Cel”, which is very true, but she also says it’s sweet and unique to me. It developed into more than just the second half of my name. Now, it means something strong and stable.

I couldn’t have said it better than her.

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“Leste” was the name I heard that melted my heart, that drew me in close, and allowed me to know that the ones who called me that were branding me with love.

It’s endearing, and it rings a true tone to me. A lot of people call me Leste, some of my best friends call me Leste. I am even “Auntie Lesteee” thanks to one very dear friend and her little boy who steals my heart with every grin.

Now, hearing, “Leste!” is natural.

My best friend is right; it is strong and stable. It resembles the part of me that is deeply known, that is vulnerable, but that is cared for.

The people who call me Leste have seen my heart, they have seen my faith take its roots, they have seen my hard work, they have seen my struggle, they have seen my happiness and they have seen my joy.

They know what lights me up and what tears me down.

They know that I can’t start my day without coffee, that I like to write in fine tipped pens and craft journals, that I hate mornings but I love sunrises, and that I have an adventurous spirit but I need a little push to take the first step.

They know my desire to be a part of something greater, to write, to live, and to love endlessly. And they know so much more. They probably know more than I know about myself.

Leste is who I am. And it’s the best “nick name” I could ever ask for.

So, {feel free to} call me Leste…

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