Geen Geenie – What’s in a name?

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!

Whats in a name- a rare word for a rare bird

A rare word for a rare bird…

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.

Jean Genie- David Bowie- my inspiration

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….

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9 comments

  1. What a great post, Bridgeen (is it okay that I call you by your birth name? haha). I never had any problems with my name (born Richard, went by Richie throughout school and then simply Rich since then)…other than the traditional nickname Dick which is not easy to live with as a kid.

    When I was putting my blog together 5 years ago I initially thought of some more generic-sounding musical names. I considered calling it “MyTunes” but that just seemed so blah. Then I realized it might be a good idea to incorporate part of my last name so it’ll be distinctive. “KamerTunesBlog” may not roll off the tongue but I don’t think anyone confuses me with any other blogs. Some people think my name is “Kramer” but I’m more of a cross between Jerry and George. 😀

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    1. Of course Rich! lol. And I always thought Richard was a nice name, but yes, Dick would be hard to live with! You’re right, ‘mytunes’ would have been way too generic, but I have just realised that I have always misread your blog title as KramerTunesBlog too! My bad! ( At least I knew that wasn’t your first name.) I liked your Seinfeld joke, believe it or not it’s a show I don’t know well at all. I really wish they’d put it on UK Netflix!! 😉

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  2. This is great. Incidentally, I was thinking about names and how they define us earlier today. As you know, I legally changed my name many years ago now to suit the woman I had become. I believe that names can make or break us. I dislike my surname (because it’s my mum’s maiden name and it consists of my late, alcoholic granddad’s first name plus ‘son’) and I can’t wait for the day when I will change it. I don’t give it out unless I have to for contracts etc. so to a lot of people I’m just Chiaki.
    Bridgeen is a beautiful and powerful name, but I can relate to not feeling entirely comfortable with your own name. ‘Geen Geenie’ makes so much sense to me (of course) and I love it. It’s really clever. Blog names are much harder than personal names. I still have no idea what to rebrand as apart from wanting to keep ‘Chiaki’. Very much like you, I want my blog to have a personal voice. My blog name is so wrong now that it makes me cringe but I can’t force it. A new name will come to me one day. X

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    1. I knew you would understand! Names really are difficult things. I used to always fantasize about changing my name but knew I’d never have the nerve to go as something completely different. So do you think you’ll change your surname one day too? I hope you hope a new blog name soon. We can do some brain storming when you come visit if you like? 😉 x

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      1. Names are powerful things. I’ve fantasised about changing my first name from an early age but no ideas stuck like ‘Chiaki’. I will definitely change my surname (again) one day. I had my dad’s surname when I was a child. My brother still has his surname. Oh, I’d love to brain storm! 🙂 X

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  3. The blog name and online identity thing has been something I have struggled with for years. My first introduction to the internet was fairly early in its public stage because of my father’s profession, so I had the privilege of being able to identify as myself as only myself (first name, last name). Years later, I started finding more people with the same name or initials as me (there’s a lot of Andrew’s with my last name, which is funny because I would have been an Andrew if I was a boy). This, combined with the increased concern about privacy, made me veer towards names (personal identifiers and blog names) that were personal to me, but not identifying.

    Fast forward to when I really kicked off my online presence, which was around the time I graduate from my library grad program. I was a librarian and I loved the coast, so beachedlibrarian made sense. I legitimately thought that I would eventually be working in a science library, which would work with my identity and give me plenty of things to discuss from a librarian perspective.

    … except, I don’t work in a library. I work in an office as a business analyst. My job is in the information management sector, which is related to librarianship and information studies, and being a BA requires research, which comes naturally to a librarian. But, that’s as close a connection as you get.

    Plus, I rarely blog about things relating to librarianship. Or, beaches!

    My blog name seems silly and misleading.

    Maybe it’s time for me to change the name. I just don’t know how to identify myself or my blog in just a couple of words/names, because the only consistent thing about my life is that I’m Anne. My interests, hobbies, etc. shift and morph. But, everything about how I interact online (random topics, inconsistent updating, etc.) is me. But, I just can’t get behind calling my blog “Anne” – it’s … I don’t know! It just doesn’t feel like it would work.

    I had considered using a nickname or variation of a nickname, but they’re all too specific to a particular person (one person called me Annie Oakley, another called me Annie Dungan, another called me Annabelle, etc.), except for Annee. That was used by a fair number of people over the years. I like that it emphasizes that my name is spelled with an “e” (it came from someone writing a note to me with “Anne-e”), but it’s too personal to me to use as my online ID. *You* can call me Annee because I consider you a friend, but I don’t want Joe Public calling me Annee. Anywhere where I put my real name has Anne, not Annee.

    But, that still leaves the issues of my blog name/online ID. I had thought about something like “flotsam and jetsam,” but there’s a thrash metal band called Flotsam and Jetsam. I am *not* thrash metal. Beachcomber? Hot tubs in Alberta. And, both these names still have the I-don’t-live-near-the-coast issue.

    I don’t know. One day I’ll find the perfect name … and then find that it’s already taken 😀 All I know is that I’m happy with how I blog and interact and my blog name doesn’t seem to be getting in the way of that. Yes, I want to change it, but I’m not in a rush.

    For the record, I love your name. I don’t know if I pronounce it properly (Bri-Jean, silent “d”), but it’s lovely. I also love Geenie/Genie.

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  4. Also, I love the idea of true names. I always get excited when I see the idea used in stories.

    I always thought that nicknames were like a modern or non-mystic version of a true name. It may only be true to you for a small group of people or a few years of your life, but nicknames are often closer to who you really are in a particular context.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad, it’s a ‘magic’ thing I’ve always liked too. And you are right, nicknames can say a lot about you (or they can be very, very stupid where I come from). I read a few things as a kid where the true names were important, earthsea and some regional folklore spring to mind! x

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  5. […] recently wrote about the difficulties of finding a name; for your self,  your online projects or even your business venture. Following on, I wanted to […]

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