I’ve had four names in my life. It’s hard to keep track.

Occasionally, when I meet a person for the first time, as we are shaking hands and exchanging names, I have to pause. It’s a brief pause, but it’s still noticeable and just a little awkward. I’m trying to remember my name.

“Hi, so good to meet you, I’m Jay…no, I’m Nic…no, I’m…shit…Elizabeth. That’s it. I’m Elizabeth.”

My first name: The Korean name I got when I was born in South Korea. My three surviving grandparents got together, consulted a “wise person” who doled out prosperous names to newborns as a side gig, and got my name: Rae Jin.

My second name: The American name I got six minutes before my family registered me for kindergarten. They flipped through an old magazine in the school office and came across Jayne Barbera’s name. Ok, done deal: Jayne.

My third name: After 6 years as Jayne, I decided I needed a little pizazz in my life. But what? A new hobby? A new bedspread? No, a new name!

I narrowed down my list to just four choices:

  • Brooke
  • Mickey (After the mouse. I shit you not.)
  • Nicky
  • Elizabeth

After a few weeks of back-and-forth, I decided against the first two names. Then, I couldn’t decide between the last two. I liked the hard “k” sound in Nicky, but I loved the way my math teacher, Ms. Elizabeth G, wrote her name on the blackboard.

So, I combined the two. Nicky Elizabeth.

This is why we don’t allow fifth graders to name themselves: NICKY ELIZABETH.

For close to a month, I insisted everyone call me by my new pizazz-y name. I wrote it on all of my homework, forced my friends to address me by the name in its entirety (not Nick or just Nicky or just Elizabeth. I demanded the full NICKY ELIZABETH.)

I changed my mind after I started getting hand cramps each time I wrote my name.

My fourth name: I decided to keep “Elizabeth.” Ms. G made it look so damn good on the blackboard. In homage to my family, who didn’t kick me out of the house for going through an early life identity crisis, I threw “Jayne” back in: Elizabeth Jayne.

Today, I’m legally Elizabeth Jayne. Well, when I remember anyway.
Did you ever want another name?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/kisssmytulips Maria Arr

    I thought I left a comment for this post yesterday, but I guessit didn’t post? It was my first comment. I don’t quiet remember what all I said but I think it went a little something like this:

    Yo. It’s not like I’ve been creeping on your blog all day or anything else more creepier then that, but thought I’d let you know that you’re my new BFF. Haha.

    Here are my names (I have a very long intricate, but not boring stories about my names[my life actually], but we can save that for coffee when I get back to the states.. [Shit, don’t think I’m a crazed psycho person trying to hit on you or forcing you to become my BFF with me, bc I know it’ll come natural for you to want to be my BFF, I’m fucking awesome.]) I have two first names: Maria Dolores (but I spell it Delores with an E bc my nickname is MADEL) and right now I have two legal last names (it’s possible, I swear on my dog’s life [I don’t have a dog])

    Born as: Maria Dolores Lopez A*****o

    Married name: Maria Dolores Lopez S*******a

    Future Legal name when I get my divorced finalized and get married again: Maria Delores L. R****o
    Answers to: Maria, Madel, Del, Delores, Madildo, Delski, Gangsta (ok, maybe not G, but let’s face it, it suits me)

    How’s that for trying to remember what name you introduce yourself to someone new. Ha.ha.

    Ok,that’s all I can remember what I commented, but I think also said something about how we’re new BFFs not bc we’re the Cool Asian Badasses, but bc Thugs and Gangstas always keep it real. Real Talk man.

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Dope. I could always use more BFFs. Let’s set up that coffee date once you’re back on this side.

      You might have to help me out with your multitude of names though. =) xoxoxo