What’s in a Name?

I have been thinking in my down time about names. The names we are given, the names we choose and the names that are thrust upon us.

According to my mom she chose my name because it was the name of the character Meg Ryan played on As The World Turns and she liked it. And I am a Betsy, not an Elizabeth, my name is not short for anything. My middle name, Jo, is also my mother’s middle name and was the middle name of my grandmother’s best friend and sister in law Rebecca. My last name until I got married was Bailey which was actually my mother’s maiden name.

Meg Ryan as Betsy Stewart

I used to get comments all the time over how happy my name sounded. I had teachers that always referred to my by first and last name “BetsyBailey”. A non comprehensive list of what I was told my name sounded like: A USO singer from the 40’s, a comic book alter ego, a porn star, a cheer leader, etc. I was also often asked if that was my real name, or if I made it up.

The strange “problem” with having an incredibly happy name is that I have never really had a nickname. My name already sounds like one. Some people will call me “Bets” but I don’t really think of that as a nickname as much a verbal laziness. My older sister, Krystie, for a while called me Wetzel, a derivation on the name of the haunted doll Betsy Wetsy (It goes without saying that I absolutely hate that doll, and also that I had one as a child. People are mean.). That never really stuck either though, thankfully.

Unlike me my little sister, Traci, collects nicknames. I gave her one of them, Shmoo. It came out of my absolute inability to call a pet by their name, and then applying the name to her. She has also been called: Pepper, TJ, Teej, etc. She has more nicknames than is applicable for one person.

Where never having a nickname got strange for me was when the internet became a thing and people used their nicknames as their email and screen names. I didn’t have a nickname, so I used the most obvious moniker, spazgirl1981. Makes sense, right? On renaissance fair based forums I would change it up a bit and use renspazgirl1981. I had a brand, I guess. And no one could say they didn’t know what they were getting into.

My Renaissance Faire character/ wench name is Emma Cricket. Emma was a common name of the Renaissance era and Cricket was my grandmother’s nickname. Recently when my mother joined the wenches she chose to also be of clan cricket, and so the name expands.

When I began to get interested in Roller Derby I decided to use my first name as a starting point and build around it. What I came up with was AlphaBetsy Bomber, which is a reference to the movie Cry-Baby by John Waters. My second runner up was Betsy McBrawl which was a reference to a character created for young girls by McCalls magazine. I was afraid that one was too obscure, but man do I love it. I never got to actually play, but I was training and I have used my derby name as a screen name at least once before.

When Seth and I got married, I made the decision to take his last name. Which gave me almost the name of everyone’s favorite Golden Girl. I have considered having my middle name legally changed from Jo to Snow, so my name would be Betsy Snow White. I thought if I ever publish a book I would publish under the name B. Snow White. I mean, it appeals on so many levels. I have never taken the plunge, but the thought remains.

I will someday explain how I decided that I should write my blog as the Weird Girl, but that is a story all unto itself. I could also talk about how I eventually made the decision not to use a magical name. For now, though, what are the origins of your name? Do you have a nickname? Do you have a pseudonym? How many names can you claim?


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