Names, like titles, are a tricky business. Some come easy while others are head-scratchers, like ‘what do I call my blog?’ Feeling disillusioned after writing as an indie craft ‘brand‘, I really wanted Geen Geenie to have a more personal voice that allowed me to be true to myself. So the name of the blog had to represent me. But this brain teaser only highlighted the complicated relationship I have with my first name!
It doesn’t help that as a baby, siblings refused to use it (an ‘old lady’ name apparently) and that I was named for someone else. (Despite being given in honour, I’m conflicted by this practice that robs a person of their individuality before they’ve even got started). So my name was problematic from an early age. It was also relatively uncommon and tricky to say. So when my dad joking called me Fred (after this reggae song), it stuck. It suited my gender defiance, and allowed me to fly under the radar in a male dominated field of comics when I started out. ‘Fred’ is short, friendly, non-threatening and faintly ridiculous (just like me). But as a personal description it is not entirely befitting of a grown woman, no matter what Joss Whedon might say.
Moving away from home made my name seem more exotic which aided my appreciation, regardless of mispronunciations. Many tried and failed to find variants that would stick, (I’ve been Reggie, Little b, Honey bee, Regina, Janine.!.) And while it’s endearing to be different things to different people, none of them were really me. Until one day in my early twenties, at a play rehearsal two young creatives stifling laughter, misheard my name as Genie. And lightning struck. It didn’t matter they were laughing. I liked it. Finally a name that contained magic.
Genie has cropped up spontaneously again over the years so it feels like a genuine nick-name derived from my given name Bridgeen. I spell it Geenie to make that more apparent. (Although I do wonder sometimes if that’s wise.) So the next part of my blog name is obvious to any of you who love Bowie. Jean Genie (or Geen Geenie) seemed meant for me.
So, how did come up with the name for your blog? Or your business name, or simply your online handle? Love or hate it, a name is a label we deliberately give ourselves, or unwittingly have assigned to us, like at birth when we have no say in the matter. It’s true that names contain magic, the power to define, or forever be a scourge. A name you love is like wearing a tailored suit, while a name you find difficult feels like hand-me-downs. To truly own your name can be a lifetime’s work.
Tell me I’m not the only one who has trouble with names, If you blog how did you find your blog name? Or how do you feel about names in general? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below….