Tuesday, June 3, 2008


"Kiki," Art Quilt, (8" x 10")
Fannie Narte

The theme for IF this week is "Baby." "Kiki," an art quilt portrayal of my granddaughter, is from my archives.


Do you have a nickname?


All of my siblings have nicknames: my sister Catherine is "Sweetheart," my sister Wini is "Sweetie," my youngest brother is "Carly Boy," and my brother Malvin is "Murphy." Although I'm the oldest, my nickname is "Baby." My siblings call me "Fannie," but my mom nicknamed me and calls me "Baby." I "feel" special.


Nicknames were a part of life. All of my cousins had nicknames too—"Honey," "Boogie"--and so did many of my school friends. However, for a time, I was embarrassed to be called "Baby," especially in public places. I even asked my mom to "please" call me "Fannie" in public, a request which was ignored. However, being called "Baby" among strangers made me "feel" different.


During my senior year in high school, nicknames were "in." If a person didn't already have a nickname, "the group" selected a name, which usually was descriptive of that person's personality or appearance. "Pimp" was a nickname given to one of my classmates because of the limp in his walk—one leg was shorter than the other. "Egg Head" and "Jabong" were nicknames given to two other classmates, which described the shapes of their heads. Kids can be cruel sometimes. "Baby" seemed like a good nickname after all. I could have been given one of those appearance nicknames such as "Skin and Bones," a nickname given to me by my uncle, which I ignored. That year in high school, I was called "Baby," which I didn't ignore. Being called "Baby" suddenly made me "feel" accepted.


Do our names really define who we are? Why did I feel good about my nickname in one instance, but not in another? Does age and maturity have something to do with it? Maybe. However, I think "inclusion" might be a key factor.

"Group think" is influential. It determines the next American Idol and the next president of the United States. If a nickname includes one in a popular group, however unflattering a name it may be, one may "feel" included, and I think most everyone wants to feel accepted.


Wouldn't it be great to turn off the external noises and decide for ourselves who we "feel" we are regardless of our names? I believe self-acceptance can be group-driven (external) or personally-driven (internal). I would like to say I am internally-driven, but I know I am oftentimes persuaded by external influences. Exploring external and internal influences would be stimulating and would make a good article, but that's another essay for another time.


Do you have a nickname? I do. It's "Baby." That's what my husband calls me, which I don't ignore, and it makes me "feel" special.

Do names define a person?


Lisa M Griffin said...

What a lovely post and beautiful portrait. She looks just precious and the little enhancement of the pearl earring just adds another wonderful detail.
Lovely work Fannie.

Sherry said...

I have many nicknames and oddly enough, I answer to them all. Mom now calls me "Honey", my good friend Sharon calls me "CC" and my husband now calls me "Maw" since the grandkids come along. The one I miss the most is "Sis". "Sis" was given to me by my dad and he's the only that ever called me by that nickname. I'm not sure names really define who we are, however I do think they represent who we are in other's eyes in a given period of time.

morningDove said...

I don't believe names define a person but they do influence how others and we ourselves see our self at times. If you look at baby name books and see all the meanings i would say many times that person does carry that particular meaning. A person has to be strong to move past a negative name tag, a choice. I love your story about your nicknames and your quilt is very beautiful.

Melissa & Emmitt said...

Hi Fannie
What a wonderful, insightful post.
I love visiting you everyday.


Regina said...

Fannie -
a lovely post that gives much to think about. The portrait is sweet. I think names are important. Names have meaning and if you know what that is, it can give you inspiration. We had a pastor whose habit was to know the meaning of names and share that with people he met. If you were a visitor at our church, he shared that in a letter to you along with Scripture to inspire you. My name, Regina, is the Latin word for Queen. He encouraged me to study Queen Esther, a woman of great character and courage.
As for nicknames, I have had many over the years - but my oldest and most enduring is Jeanie. My Mom & Grandmother were also named Regina. I was/am called Jeanie by my family. In fact, I don't even think I realized my given name is Regina until I was getting ready to start school where I was enrolled by my "real" name.

freebird said...

That is a beautiful quilt of your granddaughter. I'm sure she will cherish it and her grandmother when she is older. Nothing says "love" like having something made in your honor.

If you notice how many people choose internet names, I'd say we are not only striving for some safety in the great "outthere" but trying to pick something that says who we think we are. It took me days to come up with freebird and it was actually asking my husband to brainstorm with me that got it done as when he finally got serious and spouted what he figured would fit me, he came up with freebird. He also came up with Woman which is what he's called me since I was 17 and I thought it was sooo grown-up at the time. My family sometimes shortens my name Timaree to Tim. Those are all my nicknames.

quiltcrazygal said...

Fannie - I love this posting about names. I started using my middle name more now since I lost my Dear Grandmother. Her middle name was Louise also. It makes me feel close to her everyday! My nickname is Jenna:) I go by Jenny or Jennifer, but my close friends started calling me Jenna and it sticks. Jenna Louise makes me feel special. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post! Cheers, Jenna Louise

Cindy said...

Beautiful quilt of a beautiful little girl. Reminds me of a contemporary "Girl with the Pearl Earring".

My siblings call my "Cyn" instead of Cindy. It's funny when someone outside of my family calls me "Cyn" it's like nails on a chalkboard. A little too intimate I think.

My husband calls me "Pookie"....awwww. He used to call me "Tootsie". My favorite nickname is "Grandma".

Diana Evans said...

Hi Fannie...

this piece is amazing...and what a wonderful gift of your art for your Grandaughter...she is one of the luckiest little girls ever having you as a special Grandma....


Sandra Evertson said...

Amazing quilt piece!
Sandra Evertson

Chrisss said...

A beautiful quilt. Your post was very thought provoking. In some ways the nicknames we are given do define us. My mom, dad and brothers all have different nicknames for me and I do answer to them all...and in that moment I do become that aspect of my personality they captured when I was given that particular nickname.

Fannie said...

Thank you, Everyone, for your thoughtful, insightful and inspiring comments. I do read each one, and I feel stimulated by them all. I am curious about what others think about certain subjects, and I am interested in your ideas. It's another way for me to learn, grow and maybe even change. Thanks for sharing!


Lisa, the addition of the crystal does make the piece sing, doesn't it? Thanks for your visit.

Sherry, you have many special nicknames from your loved ones. Thanks for taking the time to share your insightful thoughts, "Sis." ;-D

Morning Dove, a wonderful name! Insightful comments. You're right--our names do influence how we see ourselves at times. It does influence me. Thanks for sharing.

Hi, Melissa! Great to have you at any time.

Noel said...

Fannie, your gift to your GD is amazing and so are your words....they always make me stop and think....you have such insight into everyday day life.
I have had several nicknames over the years...Toofutie, SiSi, wiggles...just to name a couple, but now my favorite are Nana and Honey Buns....yep I call him my manna man! Tho they don't define me.....they sure make me feel very loved!

Forever Young said...

terrific post. my hubby calls me 'moo', and i love it, don't know where it came from (probably better than being called a 'bloody cow'!

Fannie said...

Hi, Noel, or should I say "Toofutie"!

You call hubby "manna man"? "Manna" is a Hawaiian word which defines the "spirit of a person" the essence of a person--manna. ;-D A little cultural trivia.

Thanks for your visit, "Wiggles"!

Fannie said...

HAH! FY--thanks for bringing your brand of giggles to my blog. So funny!

Thanks for sharing your "FYIs"--"Forever Young-isms." ;-D