What may I call you? (we had names more intimate)

Nick-names, shortened monikers are common as relationships deepen. Families are the first to give you affectionate nick-names (pet-names, as those powdered aunts liked to call them). Then friends take their turn.

In my case, I was an unnamed female child on my birth certificate. At baptism, I received a four-letter first-name. Family managed to shorten it to two letters. Acquaintances, on the other hand, combined my first and middle names to christen me with an eight-letterered atrocity that haunted me through my school-days. Teachers took to it like ducks to water. To this day, I cringe whenever someone calls me by that, and most everyone I know from that time still do. Friends called me, and still call me, by a male version of the name, because learning each other’s names had come before learning to spell, and the male version was much more common back then.

Time went on. Those who mattered usually ended up calling me by the family nick-name or simply the first letter of my name.

In one of the earliest internet circles I was a part of, there was a specific name that stuck. To this day, it is a pleasure to receive emails, forum references and tumblr notes that refer to that name when recommending something I have written.

Over the years, I quietly and persistently worked at having my middle name taken out of the picture. It was nothing I identified with and felt burdensome. People still continue using it in addressing me, but I have moved on.

For the first time in my life, I feel that I have finally managed to take the name I will carry to my dying day, officially and in all the places that matter, and it is a powerful feeling. No more name-changes for me. It took quarter of a century to get this done.