For most of my life, I have chosen nicknames for myself. My name is Charmaine, but very few people are allowed to call me that. In elementary and junior high school, my friends called me Charm. It’s the first five letters of my first name, so at least it’s relevant. In high school, everyone called me CJ, though I have no J in my name. For several years now, I’ve asked that people refer to me as Rie. Being the last three letters of my middle name and the name my grandfather used to call my grandmother, thus far, it is my favourite nickname. Some have asked me why I don’t simply use my first name. I’ve never had an answer. Until now, that is.
Brooke wasn’t the only one who came down on me in school. Most of the kids did. Their favourite weapon was making fun of my name. As all my American readers know, there’s a brand of toilet paper that resembles my name. You can imagine the roads they went down with that.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve hated my name, and the relentless abuse of it in school has made it so that I have never really owned it. It’s never felt like who I am. I don’t look in the mirror and see Charmaine. I’ve wanted to change it since I was eighteen years old, but today, it’s been a real thought. I’ve asked friends and family what they would think of the change, and most are supportive, but honestly, it gives me anxiety.
So now I’m stuck with a potentially life changing decision. Keep the name that isn’t really mine, or go thru all sorts of government crap to get a name I can own?
What’s your vote? Remain Charmaine, or change it to Anna-Maria?