Monday, December 15, 2008

Names and Stuff

I haven't found myself with much to say lately. Been busy, of course, as we all are at this time of year. Most of what came to mind was of the "why I love December" variety, but geez, how many years in a row do you want to hear that?

So.

I bought Necco wafers today. I can't stop eating them. I bought one assorted and one chocolate and they're both half gone. I suppose that's not too bad, considering I bought them 8 hours ago.

Today Megan Hart posted about her name, and asked "Do you like your name?" Because I tend to be long-winded, and because I had no recent posts, I decided to answer here instead of there.

So. Again.

Do I like my name?

Mostly yes.

I was born Natalie Jeanne Jacobus. Let's break that down, 'kay?

I never disliked Natalie that I can recall. I've always tried to go against the crowd (without going all the way to outright rebellion), and I liked having a name no one else had. There was one other Natalie in my entire school district (as far as I could tell), and we never crossed paths. I may have had a short-lived dislike of the unusualness of it, maybe around first or second grade, but it wasn't very intense, and I came to appreciate not being Jennifer.

On the other hand, I never liked Jeanne. Still don't. When I got married, I eliminated it from my legal name.

Jacobus was always pretty cool, too, despite the typical "Fatalie Jacopiss" and "Jacobitch" taunts. It was unique; different from Jacobs, which was more common. But I never linked my identity to my name, and while I have solid respect for everyone's right to decide how to combine their married names and a mild resentment for the expectation that the woman has to give up hers, Jacobus-Damschroder was even more cumbersome than my favorite teacher's name (Albright-Rivenburg). Plus, logistically, it seemed mean. What if my daughter, Dakota Jacobus-Damschroder, wanted to marry, say, Dean Erickson-Patton? (Just as a hypothetical, there's no boy by that name.)

So now I'm Natalie Jacobus Damschroder and I will not give up the J. Professionally I am Natalie J. Damschroder, my signature is usually NJ Damschroder (because otherwise it's too damn long), and I even like my initials, NJD.

But wait! There's more!

Nicknames.

People generally tend to shorten Natalie to Nat. Growing up, I HATED Nat. Hated everything about it. I tried really hard to keep people from using it, but that was difficult, and I realized at some point that I minded the idea of it more than the actuality. IRL, I barely noticed it when it happened. So I let it go. Many people still use it.

Someone tried to call me Nate for a while. THAT I put a stop to right quick.

A hearing impaired friend called me Nad. That was before that word got used much for something else, I think, or at least before we were old enough to understand the slang use.

But my lifelong nickname has been Nuj, and of course, there's a story behind it.

My mother's initials were TAM (for Teresa Agnes Miller, and yes, she most definitely dropped the Agnes when she got married, and did not take it back after she got divorced and reverted to Miller). She always wanted people to call her Tammy, but no one ever did. I didn't know her then, obviously, but she never struck me as much of a Tammy. (My childhood best friend was Tammy Moran. Hey, Tam, if you Google yourself, give me a holler!)

Fast forward to my birth, where my father commented on my initials being NJJ. "NJJJJ," he said. "What can you make with that?" So Nuj was born. It led to Nujie (which my little brother used most), and Nujer-Buj, and cutesy stuff like that. I did have a longer period of acute hatred of this name, in my tweener years, but I outgrew it and by high school, I lovedlovedloved it and actively encouraged it.

When my mother went to Washington (state) to visit the guy who'd become my stepdad, I told her the souvenir I wanted was a shirt with Nuj on it. They didn't know where to put it, so she came home with a baseball-style shirt with Nuj in script on the upper left chest, down both arms, and on the tail.

I miss that shirt.

So that's it. I still use Nuj. It's in my e-mail address, my LiveJournal name, and a lot of message board usernames. I even have a personalized license plate with it. If I were to have a gravestone when I die (which I won't), it would be on it.

I often wonder if my uncommon first name and totally unique nickname have led to my preference for unusual names both in my kids and for my characters. With my kids, the names were uncommon when I picked them, but we apparently tapped into a burgeoning zeitgeist with both. Number One only has one kid with her name in her entire class, a boy, but they often wind up in class together. Number Two has kids ahead of her and behind her with her name. No one in her class so far, but plenty of variants. It really galls me to look trendy. *sigh*

Your turn! Tell me your name story in the comments! Be as long or as short as you want. :)

7 comments:

Victoria said...

Okay, I'll go.
I didn't want to ever be called Victoria. I never even told people that was my real first name until after I had my second child. I thought it sounded too fancy and so not me. It was always Vicki, and for a short time in high school, spelled Vycki, thanks to my best friend at the time who spelled her name, Lynda. When I wrote back then (really bad poetry and short stories), I used Tori, but the name never stuck.
My middle name: Louise. Hated that for a very long time. When I was a kid, my mom wanted to call me Vicki-Lou. So glad that never came about. Don't hate Louise so much now. Both of my names came from my Grandmas and that's cool.
Maiden name: Webb
You can imagine the nicknames from that. Webhead. Spidey. The Webster.
Smith is easy.
As for nicknames...there really weren't any that stuck. I never thought I wanted to be called Vic. But when I became an Aunt, I became Aunt Vic. I like it though. My grandma was called Vic.
So there you have it. Not very exciting, I'm afraid.

Word Verification: hyllionc - A treatment to replace your hymen.

Cindy Procter-King said...

I always wondered what Nuj went.

I won't go into how I wound up with a hyphenated surname, but initially it wasn't my preference, although I like it now. I DO identify with my surname, always have. I think this might come from growing up in a "community" so tiny that 90% of the residents had the same last name, same as mine. Also, I was VERY surprised when I found out women changed their names upon marriage. It was the late sixties when I found that out, and I was flabbergasted. It didn't occur that the issue wasn't put to a vote, LOL.

I like my middle name - Lee. I've become used to Cindy. To me it's the name of a 7 year old blonde baseball player, and I am a total klutz. But it's my name and i wouldn't know what else to name myself, so there you go.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

You're definitely more of a Vicki than a Victoria now, but of course I didn't know you as a kid. WV--I'd laugh, but... :)

Cindy, I love the way your hyphenated name rolls. And it's short enough to be reasonable! LOL Makes sense about the surname connection, especially when I consider that I moved a LOT so I didn't have that.

Anonymous said...

I'm not crazy about my name. I hated my middle name for a long time - Louise, but I'm over it now. (Tribute to my grandmother.)

I never really liked Amanda for a variety of personal reasons. I did like that there haven't been many Amanda's that have crossed paths with me. My mom wanted my nickname to be Manda, but somehow Mandy caught on instead. Never a fan of that version either. I try to just ignore it altogether.

Ennis was constantly mispronounced by substitute teachers as Enos which as we all know rhymes with p*nis. You can imagine the colorful taunts the high school boys would come up with.

So now I'm glad to be a Brown.

WV snetfc-a stuffed up elephant sneezing.

MaryF said...

I wondered where Nuj came from, too!

I hate being Mary. Every female in my family is Mary. Even my SIL! You'd think I would have come up with a better pseudonym, huh?

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Sorry, Mandy, but it suits you! :) And I don't blame you for being happy to be a Brown.

Geez, Mary, that's got to be a PITA! I like the name (warm feelings about it for some reason, maybe 'cause it's my aunt's name) but I'd hate it if everyone in my family had my name, too. :)

I think your pseudonym is perfect!

MaryF said...

Thanks, Natalie. We all have nicknames in my family, so it's not confusing, just very....Catholic :)