Tag Archives: identity

How I Lost My Identity

My name is Heidi.

I think.

Depends on what source you are referencing. According to my birth certificate, my name is Heidi Latourette Wells. However, if you rely on what I have been called by those who know me, I’ve been dubbed with classy monikers ranging from Wooz to Pooh to Flipper. Proudly, I can boast of as many aliases as King Henry VIII had wives.

Before you judge me a victim of multiple personality disorder or speculate that I have criminal proclivities, let me introduce the source of all this confusion: my mother. As long as I can remember, the noble matron has insisted on labeling all creatures – be they her offspring or the spawn of a furry creature – with indecipherable, yet intriguing nicknames.

Apparently Amy was just too banal a name for her charming firstborn, so she become majestically known as ‘The Plomp’ (there is NO other reason for such a specific epithet). Heidi was too common a title for her second-born, and the elegant ‘Wooz’ more poignantly illuminated my scintillating spunk. I’ve never asked her the origins of my nickname; I am too afraid of what embarrassing incident or unflattering characteristic earned me the title to pry into the past. Continuing, Willy was Wilbur, Christina was Bean Dog, and Taylor was Tozz. Etymology experts worldwide through up their hands in puzzled surrender.

When she ran out of children, the pets were christened with even more cryptic names. Our remarkably normal cats were exotically titled Oosah, Saykah, and Mahkah. Don’t even try Googling those. Donning my Sherlock cap, the only trace of logic I can extract is they all end with ‘ah’. I muse in fascinated horror as to the state of excessive redundancy that would exist if my mom had been assigned Adam’s job of naming all animals.

So you see, I was destined to dodge normal names. Carrying my mother’s torch with the greatest of gusto, I doused my baby brother – a golden-haired angel who wooed the hearts of all – with indulgent names such as Chunky Chicken Chops, Tender Loins and Babe of Gold. I could start an unhealthy food line guaranteed to repel vegetarians and please cannibals based off my little brother’s nicknames. I think I have a gift.

I am now well beyond the age when the use of nicknames is endearing. But the Wooz in me just won’t acquiesce to commonplace names. Thus, I am richly blessed to work in an environment conducive to this inclination. Alex is Ding Dong, Katrina is Skull, Alisha is RunckDogg, I am Flipper, etc. RunckDogg and I once carried on a conversation in which we referenced five co-workers without ever using their given names. Never has workplace communication been so crystal clear.

In a day and age in which awareness of self & identity are esteemed above all else, you might pity me and my bulging list of contradicting identities. Please don’t. Rather, grieve for my future children!