Did you ever wish you could have a cool name likes James Bond? Say cool things like, “My name is Bond. James Bond.” Drive cool cars like an Aston Martin or an Audi or a Bentley or a BMW or a…you get the picture, right? Be cool like him? Jump off a hovering plane with skis and slalom down the Swiss Alps, all the while evading a barrage of bullets and evil henchmen? And I’m not talking about daydreaming like Joo Won’s character in Level 7 Civil Servant…or am I? O.o
Seriously, though, how many of you have ever wished this? ‘Cuz I know I did! Many a times!
older more experienced I become, though, the more I realize that the “flashy” names are just that…flash with very little substance. I wisely* learned to value the meaning behind names…and how people start to live up to their names, be they their birth names or simply nicknames. (*Apparently, I haven’t learned to be wise in naming myself on my various social networks.)
Like many of you, I have many different names…many of them unintentional and yet reflective of what I was thinking or experiencing at the time that name found me. Here’s a list of my names in case you are interested:
Musings name: Snoopy’s Twinkie. I was trying to think of a name that I would like and just thought 1) I like Snoopy and 2) I am a “twinkie”–an Asian who is westernized in both philosophy and lifestyle. As a complete noob to the blogging world, it never occurred to me–until the name stuck–that Snoopy’s Twinkie is quite the mouthful. Thank goodness, some of you shortened it to ST or Twinkie. LOL
Twitter name: twinkiedramas. My brother-in-law set the account up for me and just truncated the Musings name, claiming that Snoopy’s Twinkie was too cumbersome. *sigh* He obviously has way more experience with blogging than I. Too bad he wasn’t there to “educate” me when I first started this blog. *palm face* Ah well…
Facebook: My Korean and, incidentally, my legal name.
YouTube: Gracie21. Back in 2006, “Grace,” the meaning of my Korean name, was already taken as a YouTube ID, so I opted for a variation of it, hence Gracie21. Heh.
Family nickname: Turtle. Yup, you heard right. T-U-R-T-L-E. *hiding face behind hands*
How did I get this “cool” name? I mean, doesn’t it have a certain ring to it? “My name is Turtle. Grace Turtle. Pffft. As if…!
Here’s how I was dubbed the turtle of the family:
On one Christmas, long, long time ago, my mother surprised me and my two younger sisters with a small and unexpected Christmas gift: a brooch. Since we were entering into adulthood–and starting to wear more “professional” clothing–our dear mother thought it would be appropriate to give us gold brooches to accessorize our suits and long coats, each of us receiving a different animal design.
Can you guess what mine was?
Yup, she gave me a turtle brooch…with the explanation that although I may start slow like a turtle, she hopes that I will persevere and finish the “race” in much the same way that Aesop’s tortoise triumphed in its race against the hare.
Although the brooches were only supposed to be an inspiring gift, the names stuck…for all three of us! And what’s even more interesting is that we’ve developed qualities that resemble our animal brooches. Either that, or our mother sagely assigned us animals whose characteristics we already shared. In any case, over the years, I’ve become quite the little turtle, slow to start but laboring steadily towards the finish line.
And the even more interesting thing is that the nickname which at first had offended me–because who seriously wants to be told she’s slow?–has now grown on me. So much so that I now collect little turtles whenever I travel. On my last trip to Korea, I picked up a cute silver turtle necklace from Jeju Island. During my last vacation two years ago, I picked up a turtle collectible figurine from Oahu (one of the Hawaiian islands). Hmm…I should seriously stop collecting things, but that’s an entirely different topic for another post.
Needless to say, names are definitely important and tend to define who we are. I’ve mentioned this on a number of occasions on this blog and even wrote a “Musing for Today” on the topic a while back, but what I’m realizing now is that even “silly” names are meaningful. Nicknames that I acquire from people. Nicknames that I give people, especially the teenagers in my youth group. These nicknames have the power to make us feel special and inspire us to work harder.
I was reminded of this recently when a new student to my church asked what his nickname was. At first, I didn’t understand. Literally, I think I must have given him the “Huh?” look for a good minute. You see, I hadn’t realized that over the years, I had given a number of my youth group nicknames. Mind you, not all of them have nicknames, just a few…because they did something that totally made me want to commemorate the moment with a nickname! (i.e. A boy, who is now 14 years old but was only ten at the time, is called tokki by me and some of the other kids because we’ve never actually seen a real boy gobble up salad the way he does. He absolutely loves vegetables…just like a little tokki, aka rabbit in English.) This new student had picked up on this nicknaming and asked me for one as well; in his mind, a nickname from me apparently signified that he belonged. Aw…
Little moments like this one teach me that it’s not just our birth names that are important…after all, they were given to us after much deliberation by our parents and grandparents, so they should be important. However, trivial, silly nicknames can become quite as important as well, imbuing the bearer of said name with certain special qualities and inspiration.
So yeah, my name is Turtle. Slow and Steady.
After many years of getting used to this name, I like. 🙂 Hmm…”My name is Turtle. Grace Turtle.” *shaking head* It still doesn’t sound right.
In any case, I’m curious if any of you Twinkles have nickname(s) that you love or hate. Remember, sharing is caring! 😉