or, more accurately, Names I Have Been Called
Hideous Firebreathing Soulsucking Fuckburger of Doom
Names are funny. I refused to change my name when I got married, a) because fuck a sexist trend in the ear with a herpes riddled cactus, and b) I felt it was excessive punishment to people who had already learned my name and pronounced it correctly on the regular. Plus, I love my name. Don’t tell my folks, though; I want that guilt train to travel well into their retirement.
None of the names listed above are particularly kind. They don’t really qualify as authentic nicknames, and not just because anyone who called me those things is totally coincidentally dead. They are not based on any sort of investment; they are single-faceted names. A crude appraisal. Fuck an inaccurate and sloppy appraisal. (Although, I kind of adopted ‘kitchen’ and domesticated it and now it lives in my rage-laden letter writing habits, so we have to call it family, ok.) I tend to see the names I have been called as funny (awful) stories, but nicknames…
nicknames have sat wrapped in a snug place near my most vulnerable places, and continue to live there, unfettered by the grimaces sprung from inaccurate appraisals.
For years, the people closest to me either didn’t have a nickname for me at all, or they simply used the first syllable of my name. I loved that I could hear their friendship with me in the way they chose to address me; either choice was deliberate and affectionate, and riddled with their desire to express it. I also got nicknamed all the time by folks I knew in a peripheral way, and that was mostly fine. Showing interest and investment via an affectionate name is specific; it’s intention is hard to taint or mask. I’ve never hated an authentic nickname, but the oddness of my name made it hard for folks to comfortably latch to one.
Since Medium, this has changed. I remember my first few months here, when different versions were tried and tested. I remember learning to relax in my writing handle, and take each attempt at a nickname as a compliment. And, eventually, the nicknames rolled easily, the intent behind each unhesitating and startlingly clear.
And because of this ease, I became someone who learned to be easy with affection. Which, considering my massive trust shenanigans, is no superficial feat. I learned to more than accept the careful weight in being called by name; I learned to embrace it. I grew to be someone who didn’t second guess people investing in me.