|Just call me Happy|
What’s Your Nickname?
The word nickname comes from the Old English word ekename, which means additional name. The word later became nekename and then the spelling became what we have today; nickname.
When I was a girl, I thought my name was Hedgy or Redhead; sometimes it was Gip. My sister Christine called me Hedgy, because every day she would plait my hair in those three braids that most girls wore back then, but when I got home from school, my hair would be standing straight up like a hedge bush; and hence the name Hedgy.
My Aunt Geraldine, was not really my aunt, but the sister of my aunts boyfriend. Aunt Geraldine gave me the power to love myself and see myself as beautiful. “Who’s the cutest redhead girl in the projects?” She would ask me. She would wait until I said “Me” and then she’d ask another question. “What redhead had the biggest smile in the projects?” “Me,” was the answer to all of her questions regarding redheads and beauty.
I was called Gip by my brother Kevin. Gip is pig spell backward and because he was not allowed to call me pig, he quietly but deliberately called me gip.
My children are rather good at nicknaming others. One studious aunt is called Aunt Books while one who is full of fun is call Aunt Bo-Bo.
Sometimes nicknames can be cruel, but at times they are spot on.
By the time we are in high school or college, we shed our nicknames like a snake sheds skin; never returning to claim them and barely recognizing ourselves in it we hear it again.
Today, think about your childhood nicknames. What did yours mean and what did it mean to you? How and why did you ever have the name? Was it born from kindness or cruelty?
Have you shed your old name? What nickname would you give yourself?
When my children came to me, they already had their wonderful names, but sometimes for the fun of it I give them new ones. The names are always rejected because let’s face it, who wants to be called Tituba (as in the Salem witch) or Clepophus (as in Cleophus?)
Be you, be well, be renamed
Bertice Berry, PhD.