Whether you have a shortened version of your name, go by your middle name, or have a completely different name you use, you understand this struggle that I am talking about. Having a nickname can be all fun and games until you realize all the extra effort that goes with it. From filling out legal documents to deciding when it is or is not appropriate to go by a certain name, it complicates everything. For example, my legal name is Elizabeth Kelly Redd, but my whole life people have called me Libby. It is not Elizabeth Libby Redd and it is not Libby Kelly Redd- it is either Elizabeth Kelly Redd, Elizabeth Redd, or Libby Redd. Nothing more, nothing less, I don't make the rules. Trust me, I have heard it all.
I'm not really sure why or how that is my name, but it works. I've realized, however, that this is more common than I thought. Turns out, I'm not the only one who feels extremely appreciative of the documents that include a "Preferred Name" section. With that being said, this article is for all the people who have shortened versions of their names- like an Abigail that goes by Abby or Abbie, and the people who go by their first and middle name- like my friend Anne Marie, and the people who go by their middle name- like my cousin Steven "Jude," and even for the really complicated ones- like my brother who goes by "Ivey" because he is James Redd IV (Roman Numerals... get it?). Believe it or not, our parents don't actually hate us.
I find myself feeling apprehensive when meeting new people. Your name is the first impression you have on others. In a formal setting, I feel like I should go by my legal name to be more professional. While I am more comfortable with "Libby," "Elizabeth" sounds a lot more official. Yet, because that is not what I am used to hearing people call me- it takes me longer to realize that they are talking to me. "Oh yeah, I AM Elizabeth." Don't even get me started about how confusing that gets.
Social Media is confusing. People reference me and tag me in posts as both names. It becomes a little confusing in those aspects and some even think that my profiles may be identity theft.
Memberships that I have are also their own battle. "What's your name?" they ask. I panic. "Elizabeth Redd," I usually reply because that is indeed my given name, which may or may not work depending on what I told them the day I signed up. "Try Libby Redd," I usually have to end up saying, feeling like an idiot. The people that work at the gym probably think "Wow this girl doesn't even know her name, she has more issues than just needing to shed a few pounds."
It also seems as if there will need to come a time where I do go by my given name. Choosing when or if that will be is hard because of the relationships that I already have with people who know me as "Libby." But, am I really going to be called that when I am old and senile in the nursing home? Time will tell and I'll fight that battle when it comes, I guess.
All struggles aside, going through this hardship does add character. But, keep in mind, when naming your children: give them the name that they will be called. For their own sake, it is so much easier that way.