Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.



A friend recently asked How do you feel about your name? Do you think it suits you? Do you think of yourself by some other name, or as the one you tell other people? She sparked the following answer from me:

Nicoles were a dime a dozen in the 70s and I always had many in my classes in school. My best friend for the first 6 or so years of my life was another Nicole. My family all called me "Nikki" but my mom gave me the goofy spelling of "Nici" which was constantly mispronounced by people seeing it in writing as "Nicey" or Niece-y". For years I demanded that people call me Nici and learn it, never Nicole. Halfway through school (in yet another new school with yet more Nicoles) I changed to Nicole to avoid confusion (much as Kate has converted to Katherine outside of the house) but never really saw it as "me".

I dubbed myself "Nikchick" to my high school pen pals and took it as my online handle over 15 years ago. Most people don't call me Nicole outside of formally introducing me at a convention or something. I'm most often "Nik" to friends and co-workers. Chris calls me "Finn" (for my Finnish heritage) or "Chick" as often as he calls me "Nik" I think. Nik suits me fine. Being known online as Nikchick is also comfortable. I'm never Nici and it even looks odd to me to see it anymore, though I did sign my grandpa's birthday card that way.

Lindroos, on the other hand, is part of me. I became Nicole Frein in my first marriage and regretted it immediately. I tried billing myself as Nicole Lindroos Frein but that never felt right either. The first thing I did in my divorce was reclaim my last name, which I love. As a kid I wished for a name that was easier to pronounce, as once the substitute teacher had mangled Nici she inevitably moved on to mangle Lindroos as well with its two Os and one S. I wished for a name that was more recognizably Finnish like Heikkinen or Makela or better yet, Finnish but simple like Lahti or Maki. Even the officials in Ely who agreed to name the road to my grandpa's lake house Lindroos Road misspelled the name on the sign as Lindross the first time around. Lindroos is my name, given and in my blood. After almost 40 years, Nicole has settled around me, familiar if not well-loved, but it's Lindroos that gets to the heart of me.

How would you answer my friend's question?

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