"BABY"—A FULL CIRCLE EXPERIENCE
Do you have a nickname?
I FEEL SPECIAL
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.
I FEEL DIFFERENT
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.
I FEEL ACCEPTED
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.SELF-ACCEPTANCE
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?