I have had the good fortune of growing up with a nickname. It has defined me in a way my given name will never have the capacity of doing. There is not a single person in my life that can recall how it originated, but I have nonetheless been called Tooie since I was a young child.
There have been many theories developed in an attempt to come up with the birth of the name, but none have resembled any sort of believable truth. There are people in my life that would struggle to come up with my legal given name, and that has never struck me as an oddity. It is a comforting feeling having people refer to my nickname as if it were the name on my birth certificate. My dad, before he passed away, made sure that my legacy follows me everywhere, literally. My last Christmas present from him was a license plate that says TOOIE.
Even though that moniker has followed me throughout my time on this earth, I would never change that part of my life. It is how I define myself. It is a term of endearment that was mysteriously bestowed on me at a young age and will follow me into my twilight years. When I am 90 years old, my nephews will still refer to me as Auntie Tooie.
Some people will shrug off a nickname as they get older, feeling like it is suspending them in an alternate linear timeline, but nicknames have a way of attaching themselves to our evolving reality. They are usually given as a sign of affection, and I will continue to embrace mine. Perhaps I will never know how it truly came to be, but I will cherish the family and friends that keep the sentiment alive and well by always referring to me as Tooie.
If you’ve ever been given a nickname….share it with me. I’d love to know what other names you go by!!