My Identity Crisis

identity crisis butterfly

I don’t always know who I am, but I like butterflies.

Hi there. Come on in, have a seat. We need to talk. There’s something I need to tell you, and it might come as a shock. My name isn’t really Nicky. Well, at least, not always.

I have an older brother. When he was born, my father suggested a Greek name for him. He repeated it 3 times, and my mother still couldn’t understand what he was suggesting. Finally, he took a pen and paper and spelled it out for her. She agreed to the name, but insisted they come up with a pronounceable English-sounding nickname for him. They did, and that’s what everybody calls him. Everyone except my dad.

I was born 2 years later. My parents debated over what to name me for the entire 9 months my mom was pregnant. My mom liked the name Amy. My father wanted to name me after his mother, which is also the name of two of my cousins and one of my aunts. It was also, for my mom, another unpronounceable Greek name. I was born. I spent two weeks with no name. Then, as my mother tells it, one evening while watching television like everything was perfectly normal in their lives and they did not have a child without an identity in the crib beside them, they looked at each other and simultaneously said a name.

Finally, I had a name.

They filled in all the paperwork and I got a birth certificate. I officially existed in the eyes of the law.  Then they contacted the church to have me baptized. I got a baptismal certificate. I officially existed in the eyes of the Lord. I was a person.

The problem? The name on my birth certificate and the name on my baptismal certificate are not the same.

According to my birth certificate, which shows the name my parents chose for me, I am Niki. According to my baptismal certificate, I am Nicky.

This has been a source of confusion for me my whole life. Who am I? Nicky or Niki?

Also, once upon a time, you could use your either your baptismal certificate or birth certificate to apply for other forms of identification, like your driver’s license, social security number etc. So I have different ID’s with the different names. When I drive, I am Niki. When I work, I am Nicky.

Jepeto says that Niki is more exotic than Nicky. Nicky is also typically the masculine spelling of the name. Maybe this explains why I look like a woman who wears Birkenstocks, but am really a woman who wears leopard print stilettos.

To top it all off, I don’t even have a middle name to provide me with some kind of constant to hold onto. I can’t even say “Well, at least I’ll always be Patricia”. Or Nancy, or Susan, or Amanda. Nope, I’m always torn between two Nickys. Or two Nikis. Whatever.

I guess it could be worse. My parents could have decided to represent both my Greek and German sides and named me Stavroula Ursula.

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