I have always liked my name. I do not know many people named Shelby, and I find it interesting that the name seems to be rarer nowadays.
Since I was young, I had been told that my parents chose my name because of the movie Steel Magnolias, where Julia Roberts plays Shelby, the main character. Throughout my life, I assumed that was the only reason and truly did not give the idea a second thought after the discovery. But one day this year, I decided to find out the true meaning behind my name. I wanted to know more about its origins, not just the reason my parents chose it.
Once I did some research, I discovered that one of the meanings behind my name is "a willow grove, a place where willows grow."
The word that stood out to me the most was growth.
I am a firm believer in self-growth and have grown a lot over the years, especially in terms of confidence. I have been through many ups and downs throughout my life and I have also undergone many lifestyle changes -- going through break ups, transitioning from high school to college, and managing school and involvement -- that have affected me deeply. However, these changes have all contributed to my growth as a person, and I am grateful that it all happened the way it did. I am glad to embrace this aspect of my name.
Shelby also means "a Sheltered Town." I took this meaning in a different way. Rather than a sheltered town, I decoded the message in a way that suggest I lived within a sheltered family.
I grew up in a family that protected me from the bad things in life, especially when it came to what was happening on the news. But, my parents also allowed me to experience all of life for myself as I grew older. My parents always worried about my safety, which taught me to be self-aware. They were the ones I went to when I needed a shoulder to cry on.
Arnett was first used as a surname by descendants from Scotland, which was originally pronounced as 'Arnitt.' Despite the true pronunciation, my grandfather simply did not like the sound of it. In response to his distaste, he changed the pronunciation it to 'Arnett' when he came to Louisville, thus giving me the same last name.
The name Arnett is also associated with an eagle, which I personally connect to boldness and strength. Each day, I aim to live my life with a bold personality. I want to use my strength to overcome the obstacles I face. I intend to improve on those characteristics throughout my life, as I am proud to be an Arnett.
What I think is most interesting about the discovery of my name's origins, is that I embraced my name's meaning without even knowing it at first. Now that I am aware of what my name truly signifies, I can make it a point to live it even more.