What’s in a name?
‘Sticks and stones will break your bones but words will never hurt you’. have you heard those words before? My guess is a resounding yes.
True words don’t break bones, but they can have a massive negative impact on a person for days, years or decades.
When I was 4, it was my grandparents 60th Wedding Anniversary. It was a big dinner and my Dad was a man around town and thought he was pretty good. As he was speaking he said something that was not true. I don’t remember what it was. What I do remember is getting a humungous hiding.
What my four-year-old mind took from that was –
What I have to say is not important
It is not safe to speak up
He told a lie and I got into trouble for pointing it out.
A big burden for a little girl to carry, and she carried for decades.
My birth name is Dianna, then I was Dianne, today I am Di.
Is that significant? Ye,s it is! As a child, I detested Dianna and never knew exactly why! That is not exactly a smile you see on my young dace.
I grew up in a violent alcoholic household and grew up keeping quiet, staying out of the way with no self- confidence, no self -esteem and no self- worth. At 15 I was a victim of pack rape and a pregnancy and adoption followed. The welfare workers told me I was a disgrace to my family, my town, country and Universe and I should go nursing, get out of society’s way as no decent man would ever want me. So I did and became officious and efficient, after all, I thought that would be my future.
Despite their dire predictions, I met a wonderful man, gosh he was a blind date. That’s what happened in the 60’s guys would ring the nurse’s quarters looking for a date. As the self-appointed officious one, I would send them off with a flea in their ear, until that fateful day I answered the phone. This polite male voice said he was in town for a Conference and was looking for someone to accompany him to the opening dinner. Before I could think, I had said yes. I think partly because it was whoppee a free meal! Nurses were poorly paid back then.
Nurses also have a wicked sense of humour. When someone was going on a blind date we would turn off the verandah lights, sit on the floor and peer through the railings and watch the circular driveway. Our observation included – was it a decent car, could he drive straight, when he got out of his car was he well dressed, could he walk straight and what was his manner when asking for you. Based on those criteria we said a yes or no and either we dated or we didn’t. for me, it was a yes and off I went.
The rest is history, we married. He had 4 children aged 10 – 16 and I was 24 and I had a past. What a combination, yet it worked. We had a wonderful 31-year marriage until his death in 2002. Was it all roses? Noooooooooo but I kept him on his toes and we had many a spirited discussion on our differences and life was never dull.
He encouraged me to join Toastmasters. There was a time when I found looking after 4 teenagers and out baby took more time and effort then I expected. Learning to entertain and be the corporate wife gave me plenty of scope for self-improvement. My confidence plummeted and Toastmasters was my answer to moving forward.
Our adventures are too many to mention but it was good…
In 2002, the unthinkable happened. Les passed away. Life then challenged me after his death. I ran myself into the ground and dropped to 51 kgs. I was like a match stick with the wood scraped off it. A health scare put life into perspective. Then began an amazing, crazy, challenging fun and a not so fun self- development journey which will continue till I leave this earth.
Some of those things include joining Al-Anon, Wildly Wealthy Women, Wealth Dynamics, Toastmasters, National Speakers. Doing amazing workshops and learnings from books like Michael Rowlins, Louise Hay, Brandon Bays, Julia Cameron and Sark. I loved great activities like mind mapping, meditating, vision boards and journaling. Each thing I did opened the door for me to go deeper and deeper.
As I dealt with my grief, my past came bubbling up, journaling became a way of life. And it evolved, taking parts from the journals, writing to become serious writing and that culminated in my writing and self-publishing my story ‘Beyond Abuse’ in 2006. I wrote about it, ran programs about it and took on speaking gigs about it
Other things started happening creating a website, blogging, interviewing and having fun for 6 months as host on a blog radio show and creating videos maybe even a web TV will happen. Something like ‘Uplifting Humanity…one person at a time.’
6 months ago I became a Christian and realisation of the power of the Divine Hand that had my back all along while giving me challenges that would put me in the place I am in today. . Did I mention I have that special man in my life Pete… he’s a great guy.
Now, my updated book ‘Beyond Abuse – a recovery guide for men and women in an era of me and all of us , too is published on and Amazon. The last 2 weeks have been a whirlwind.
Do pop over and take a peek… https://diriddell.com/beyond-abuse-recovery-guide-men-women-era-us/
Now about those names… it has clicked how my name has had an effect at different stages of my life. All the bad stuff happened to Dianna. I matured into Dianne the productive, active, energised community-minded bombshell. Today I am Di, and have mellowed into a caring, compassionate and confident woman. It is my mission to uplift humanity one person at a time by demonstrating how to find hope and possibilities through before, during and beyond challenges.
What’s in a name? Everything. The first thing you learn about someone is their name and from that moment we start making judgments and forming impressions… I am often asked ‘what would you know about not having confidence Di?’ the Di of today bears no resemblance to that scared 15-year-old.
Let’s support each other, build up not tear down, support not hinder and love… starting with self-love.