i've often thought about how much a person's name ends up influencing their life. if i christened myself snail or chrysanthemum, those who didn't know me would imagine a diminutive flower child with long, flowing hair and a dog named silver moon. no thanks. in high school, i told people to call me algon. i liked its androgynous effect, but quickly grew tired of people mistaking me for a bubble bath. i don't have enough fingers to count the number of times people sighed "algon, take me away!"
one night, me and siana sat in her seattle kitchen, fiercely determined to establish nicknames for ourselves once and for all. beth had a map of texas, her home state, on the wall of her bedroom. siana and i decided to close our eyes and point to random towns. the first ones we landed on would be our new names. my index finger stumbled upon a small municipality named cuyanosa. while hardly ideal, it wasn't a bad moniker by any means. siana's would-be name, el paso, had less of a distinctive ring to it, but she seemed pleased as punch. we tried to address each other by our lone star labels, but only succeeded for an hour or two. maybe we should have tried a map of arizona instead.
i thought about going back to my childhood to come up with a name. "creelinga!" was a word i frequently screamed in times of anger or frustration. it was an excellent tension reliever and great fun to scream. why not dub myself creelinga? it would render me a warrior woman! i do love the word, but reconsidered after a great deal of thought. it sounds an awful lot like "cunnilingus." another great tension reliever, incidentally, but hardly a charming nickname! maybe i could just call myself cree for short? no, then people would accuse me of co-opting native american culture.
this name stuff's too complicated. maybe erin's not so bad after all.