Identity is rooted nowhere more deeply than in how we prefer to be named.
(Michael Toolan, 2006, ‘The art of English: Everyday creativity’, Palmgrave McMillan/Open University)
As some of you may be aware, I go by several different names. In fact being called by my birth name I feel says very specific things about my identity, even if those references are purely personal to me or only relevant within the sphere of my family. For many reasons I’m not comfortable being called by my birth name, and in some ways it could be said that because I’m not used to being called by such except within official circles, then it tends to sit awkwardly with me because for me it implies a sense of impartiality.
Quite often what seems to happen is that people develop their own nicknames for me. And this also may be in part due to the peculiar phenomenon that I have encountered with speakers of English, that saying ‘M..a..r..i..a’ seems for some to be very difficult, without making it more french by dropping the ‘a’, or anglosising it by throwing it completely out of the window and calling me Mary! Though this is not always the case.
Maybe it sounds too ‘phoren’ as a very good friend Soma puts it! Then again maybe it is actually a linguistic device that people use (perhaps subconsciously) that is about reinforcing the social pecking order, which really is the crux of all informal communication (I’ll write a post about it, actually it happens to be the topic of my first essay this coming month). There is of course the possibility that it is pure bone-idle laziness, like trout apparently (ay John?).
Either way, the upshot of it all is that I am known, and know myself by many names, many of which I like and that in many ways are implicit of the kind of unique relationships and friendships that I have with certain individuals. In this sense, the names you are known by are implicit of how people view you and how you view yourself. Much can be discerned from the dynamic of name-calling [mischievous grin].
Personally for me, I think it may also be indicative of my creativity in the world of analysis, but equally suggestive of the notion that I don’t like to be pigeonholed. I like change, and I like to be challenged, makes me feel happy. After all, chasing that adrenaline rush, even if just a mild one evoked by a simple smile is what makes me tick, in fact I think I could be so bold as to say that such is true of everyone… 🙂