Tuesday, February 2, 2010


When I was a kid I had to have eye surgery because I was cross-eyed. After that I had to wear glasses to correct the over-correction. They were hard to see through and I didn't like them. By the time I was able to quit wearing them the doctors determined I was near-sighted and I had to wear glasses to correct that. Anyone who wore glasses as a child probably knows all of the nicknames you get to endure. I could rattle them off for you, but I am sure you already know them. My mother never could understand why I was always losing my glasses. Now that is a mystery to me. {This is elementary school stuff.}

With a gender neutral name like Robin, I also was compared unfavorably to the famous male Robins of history. Although I don't recall being compared to Robin Hood very often; that would have required some brain fuel to produce a rhyme with wit and cruelty, which are the main ingredients for these sorts of things and the people who had the ability didn't have the interest. The most prevalent was the Batman and Robin tune that ended with Robin laying the egg. It contained all of the disparaging elements required to make the listener (in this case, me) feel humiliated. I was being compared to a superhero, with the intent to feel anything but super, and it worked quite famously. {This is junior high school stuff.}

I have this plaque with my name in calligraphy and the meaning of my name underneath. It says "Robin" and then underneath it reads "Of shining fame." I didn't have issues with my name or nicknames in high school. I had that plaque. {This is high school stuff.}

When I graduated my counselor in training program at camp I had to pick a bird name. It was important. It was permanent. It would be presented at the ceremony. It was my choice. My parents chose my name. This would be the only time in my life when I could choose my name. Ironically, my name was a bird name. I thought about keeping my name. By this time in my life I liked my name. But, I wanted to choose something new and different. I spent two weeks poring over all kinds of bird books looking for just the right name. I had spent the bulk of my youth wanting to blend in, to be as invisible as possible to avoid being picked on. My pendulum had now swung the other way and I wanted to stand out and be noticed. I chose Mergan. It's short for Merganser, which is a duck. I liked the way it rolled on my tongue. Mergan. I still like it. {This is just me stuff.}

My sophomore year of college I met yet another Jennifer. Seems like so many of my best friends have been named Jennifer, but that is material for another blog. Jennifer loves to give people nicknames. It is part of who she is. At first I was Rockin' but that eventually got shortened to just Rock. I think Rockin' went with the song, but Rock was probably more accurate. And I liked them both because they were given with love and affection. She didn't give nicknames to just anyone. {This is college stuff that made my life so much better.}

People who hate nicknames have never been given one with the intention of love. People who hate their actual names should take a minute right now and google it to see what it means. And even if you like your name, but don't know what it means, aren't you now curious? So....when you find out, post it in the comments. I know I want to know. Names are important. I can't prove it, but I believe that liking your name means liking yourself. Sometimes we need help getting there, so this is me offering you a hand. But don't ask me to give you a nickname because I suck at that.

1 comment:

  1. Reading through your stuff now... I've liked several I've read, this one probably most of all--but that's just probably. Some of it is a tie. However, this post reminded me how I misunderstood the concept of nicknames as a child, and asked my mom what my nickname was... I assumed everyone got one, just like a first, a middle, and a last (another thing I found out wasn't always the case).

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