All About Names: Claudia Means Lame

I don’t know why, but this feels necessary tonight.

My name really is Claudia.

The majority of people refer to me as my given name, but, the obvious shortened version of it is Claud. Friendship, familiarity, constant usage, etc, I am most comfortable as Claud. The FauxClaud is, to me, an amusing play on words. Faux, of course, meaning fake, but pretty much always, online, I have been as real as it gets. I like that I branded myself years before I knew what I was doing.

When my parents named me, the lead name was Colleen. Thank goodness, at one point during my mother’s pregnancy, she and my grandmother heard Lady Bird Johnson’s given name..which was also Claudia and they decided that they liked it better than Colleen. Then, they convinced my dad and here I am.

Now, Claudia is a great name.

Not too many of us, but not wacky, like say Apple. Never had to use an initial at the end to differentiate myself from the millions of others like all the Jennifers and Michelles growing up. It is Classic, with Roman ties back to Claudius the Emperor. And great public TV..I, Claudius. Hence my play on my Email is I, Claud..which morphed into ImeClaud due to AOL not letting me use the original IClaud during a 6 month period when I changed over accounts.

Unfortunately, no matter how hard I have searched, there is only one true meaning of the name:

Claudia, Claude, Claudius, Claudette, Claudine, etc. The name means LAME.

Now, I know that the meaning is a in a complete literal sense as the original Claudius had a bad limp. That’s OK since, really, if you had to be named after a Roman Emperor, he is a pretty good to be named after. He is not known for killing Jesus, or wild aberrations, he is known for building great infrastructure and strengthening Rome. In fact, the feminine version of Claudius,Claudia, first occurred when naming an aqueduct. That’s OK: I am an aqueduct.

I use to hate the meaning and looked for anything else that could possibly be used. Why could it not mean beautiful flower, or full of grace, or even something God inspired? No. I have a great name that means broken, disabled, noticeably different and injured.

I have come, over time, to embrace the one real meaning of my name. I am broken. I am disabled. I am different and injured.

And while the obvious and usually most predominant reason for thus is because I am a mother who lost her first child to adoption, loss and being broken has been a constant theme in my whole life.

Now most people have had some kind of loss especially by the time they have gotten to my advanced age of almost 38. But, I cannot fool myself, I know I am doubly blessed in this regard. It’s’s what I have been dealt and I can carry the load. I can still grab my joys at the most simple pleasures and I am so thankful for all that I do have. I’m just scared stupid sometimes of losing anything else.

My friends that have known me forever, I cannot surprise them anymore when the latest escaped of insanity takes over my life. It’s so common, it’s expected. We joke about it. At work we have a running joke about robbing a bank. Merri and James the Cat are to do the robbery, while Samantha in huge JackieO sunglasses drives the getaway vehicle. They all have code names and race away to Mexico with the loot.

“Oh, Can’t I come?”
“No, can’t come”
“Because if you come, we’ll get caught”

Ah, the dark cloud of Claud the Lame.

About 8 years ago, at Christine’s Bridal shower, we were discussing a mutual friend who was planning on marring another mutual acquaintance who was already married and divorced twice, plus a bit crazy too. Ah, we can’t do that, it’s a recipe for disaster. Maybe they had already done it and had rushed into it and we were discussing the aftermath? The conversation was about following some good “rules” about these things and why they are in place to safeguard marrying crazy people.

“But look,” I said, “I went by the rules with David, went out for three years, planned on getting engaged for more than one year..and it still went weird”
David being the lovely man who decided he was Gay a week after our engagement and my 30th birthday. He freaked out and was never seen from again.

“Oh, Claud” Maryanne laughed, “With you, the rules don’t mean anything”

Damned again.

Or, as my interim probation officer says ( and I guess then I will have to explain sometime why I have an interim probation officer and why Williams Lumber, “Talking to you…It puts my life in perspective. Why my car broke down this morning for no reason seems of little consequence now.”
Great..I can help center people.

My very religious friend, Pam, says that these trials in life help build character. I have enough character now, thank you. Others like to say how “strong” I am.

I HATE being called strong. What does strong mean really? That I kept on breathing?

That I did not run naked, screaming down the middle of main street with an Uzi and bunny ears? I had no choice, it was not strength. It was life and I had to keep living. Strong is what people say when they cannot comprehend doing what you have done or going though what you must go though. But really, it’s all luck, or being damned, or fate. They are just lucky enough that they haven’t had to deal with all your or my crap. They might be thinking “Lucky me!”, but they can’t very well say they make you strong. Bleh..I hate it. You do it too if it happened to you.

Nothing strong about breathing, just survival and I live to see another day.

Plus, as much as a nervous breakdown might be tempting at times, I figure that once I got out of Benedictine, or South Oaks, I would still have to deal with whatever shit made me lose it in the first place, but now I have been out of work and people are all gonna look at me funny. Not worth it. The bigger escape, death..ah, that I can’t even console myself with anymore. I have four children to think about and I know that they need me to stick around.

So here I am, Claudia the Lame, Broke Arm, Birthmother, FauxClaud.

And these are my musings.

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About the Author

Claudia Corrigan DArcy
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine,, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.

6 Comments on "All About Names: Claudia Means Lame"

  1. Okay, I identify with a lot of what you write, but I’m going to pick this name thing as subject for my first comment at your blog. I have a name problem. My last name at birth was White. In school I had the whitest legs of anyone and everyone called me Aimee White-legs. My last name now is my married name from my first marriage. These days I’m shacked up with my 4 yo daughter’s dad, we’ve been together 7+ years and I think we’ll get married in year, or two, or five. So it would make sense that I change my name to match my husband and daughter. Except if I did, my initials would be ASS. Wha? Who wants their initials to be ASS? *sigh* Also, my grandmother’s name was Claudia and I think it’s a beautiful name, regardless of the lame.

  2. I love the name Claudia. You write to well too.

  3. Hee Hee..don’t even get me started on the last names. We are sporting four different ones in this household of 5!! The plan is to consolate one of these days, but then the son from my first marrige will be the odd one out.
    ASS….now see, my granfather had the initals ASS..Anthony Salvadore Santangelo! As a child (ok and now too), I always found that very
    I know its a good name..its just…lame!

  4. Haha, hey talking about lame names, a guy who used to work at the pizza place I worked at was named Jason Lame. Oh BOY, did he get it! He claimed it was pronounced like a french sounding “la” followed by a sound like “May”. So now when a thing is lame, I always say it’s la’ May!

  5. But, Sunny…Musings of the la’May sounds like a bad disco nightmare! Or a fabric store that talks
    Or bad pants with personality
    Or the memoirs of a Vagas showgirl’s costume
    Or a gay man’s fantasy!

    • Ellis M Claudia Rain Sea Reid Okum | October 19, 2015 at 9:59 pm |

      Hi! I was born Mary Claudia Reid. Never called Mary. I
      was and am Claudia. My grandfather, whom I adored,
      was Claude. I was in his house before I was born, and
      was the first grandaughter. No spoiling there, hah!
      Two names from my dead (can’t say late, I was the late
      one) husband. My last name, and a personal pet name.
      I chose Rain and Sea. It was all made legal in 8/2012.
      I thought people would laugh, but no-one did or has.
      Think your website is great. The only experience I’ve had
      with adoption is my niece who is in her forties. She is
      obese and diabetic. If her birth history had been known,
      perhaps she would be in better shape?

      Okay, fellow lame one, from the book, Name Your Baby,
      by Lareina Rule, Claudia, a feminine form of Claude,
      Claudius, a famous Roman family and Imperial name,
      and as the emperor treated captives well, “magnanimous”. Cool, eh? Oh, yeah, in my name, Mary,
      which I was never called, was my greatgrandmother,
      Mary Cassandra Hood Wilson. As if any of this really
      matters, since we’re (song by Kansas) dust in the wind.
      Peace, Truth, Love, Kindness, Beauty
      Claudia also

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