My name is Ysabeau Reznikova. No, it is not the name that I was born with.
I was born as Shannon Lee Ladd.
My father chose Shannon to go as a pairing name for my older half-brother Shawn who I never saw except for at my father’s funeral.
My middle name Lee, is the English spelling for my Mother’s last name Yi, who is Korean.
My last name Ladd, of course is my father’s last name. They have a long history and our ancestors go all the way back to Norwegian Viking royalty, then France, England, and then America. Ladejarl, de le Lade, Le Lade, Lade, and then Ladd are other variations of our last name over the centuries.
I always wanted a unique and exotic name. Who doesn’t?
I felt exotic. How could I not? I was half Korean, half French/Native American growing up in a completely white town in Vermont. I didn’t feel like my name embodied me, or reflected my personality. It helped me fit in a little bit having such an English/Irish name.
Shannon has it’s moments, but the name itself felt so blah.
I also didn’t feel like I was named for me. I was named because of my brother, my mother, and my father.
So I’ve been on the search for many years to find a name that felt like it was me.
It had to be unique, a blend of masculine and feminine letters, not common, but easy to pronounce, and had a “Je nais se quoi” feeling.
Then one day I was reading a book called “A Discovery of Witches”. There was a character called Ysabeau de Clermont. She was a vampire. She was elegant, cunning, resourceful, a survivor, strong, and beautiful, had a tenacity with unique gifts, and very maternal.
Reading it almost instantly off the page, I felt like I could call myself with the same name for the first time. The only other time I felt close was the name Rhea, but there’s associations with a giant bird, a goddess, and my mother unfortunately read it for the first time and pronounced it like Ree-ah, as in diarrhea. She said it, not me.
I was going to be called Rhea Kova, but she felt too perfect, and it prevented me from truly pursuing all of what I am doing now.
At around the same time as I found the name Ysabeau, I was also reconnecting with God and rediscovering Christianity. I was searching for peace in my life, and Jesus came to me and completely changed my life. I no longer had fear, anxiety, and self-sabotaging thoughts. I felt free and confident, knowing I had this incredible force there for me at all times, cheering me on unconditionally. My biggest supporter.
When I decided to finally look up the meaning of Ysabeau, I was pleasantly surprised to see it means “God’s Promise”.
It was truly such a beautiful thing to discover. As I was going through this journey in rediscovering myself through God, there a name presented to me that is beautiful and strong and truly feels like my soul, and will be a gentle and powerful reminder of that relationship, and of my true self, the self that God sees and loves.
No matter what the reason. If you ever feel like you want to change your name, do it. Think carefully, chose carefully and take your time. Its so powerful. More than I ever thought possible. It’s also terrifying, but so is almost everything not in your comfort zone. You just have to get through it.
Your name should make you feel confident, and take you away from your own shadows and bring you to the spotlight you so richly deserve to be in.
I also want to mention that Ysabeau is from medieval France which is also another very special part of this name. I am French as well and am a huge romantic at heart and deeply love history. Knowing this name is from medieval France is like the cherry on top. Gives it that romantic lusciously ancient feel in the best way possible.
To wrap it up, Reznikova is my married name. My husband is Ilan Reznikov, and in Russian culture, the woman takes the husbands last name and adds an “A” to signify a woman.
So there you go. Ysabeau Reznikova.
After all these years I get the exotic name I always wanted. I just had to read more and get married. Haha.
If I can do it, so can you.