Have you ever really thought about your name, how you got it? What about nicknames? I was watching a movie today and an old nickname popped into my head. When I had it, I loved it – but thinking back now I can see it was actually a slap in the face.
When I was in grade 7, I lived in a small town and was bused to the next town for school. I was the shy girl, always with my nose in a book. I had glasses, and braces and was the fat girl in class. I really only had 1-2 close girl friends at the time, and of course boys had cooties so there was no trusting them. One day a girl in my class comes up to me and tells me about this book she is reading. One of the characters reminded her of me. The character’s name was Gwen, and from then on she called me Gwen.
This was my first nickname that I can remember. I was thrilled! She was part of a small group of girls that I sometimes hung out with, but not all the time. I desperately wanted to be included more with them, and I saw this as a step towards that. I embraced my new name wholeheartedly! Soon about half the kids in my class were calling me Gwen. I even had a necklace made up that said “Gwen” on it, and wore it religiously. Reflecting now on that situation, I remember the girl describing the character to me – she was the outcast in the book, the girl who wanted to be considered cool but wasn’t. The hopeless girl just on the outskirts, and the punch line to the jokes.
My name isn’t a very common one, but I was going to be called Melissa. My parents had it all picked out, and then about 3 weeks before I was born my cousin’s wife had a baby girl and they chose Melissa for her. Since we would both have the same last name, it was a definite no to keep it for me. My mom also tells me that around that time as well, someone said “Oh how cute would Missy be!” and from that point forward she hated the sound of it! It worked out well – now I have a name that people look at and have to think for a while before trying to pronounce it. I used to hate it now I love it.
I’ve had a few more nicknames over the years. Most people now just call me T (my first initial). My one uncle takes my name and puts a cute little spin on it, and he is literally the only person who is allowed to say it. While working at a Tim Hortons, a regular customer started calling me that and every time he did, I had a sudden urge to punch him. Yet my uncle can use it as much as he wants and I have no menacing thoughts what so ever. Isn’t it funny how things like that work?