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Hello, My Name Is…

Hello, my name is Susie.

“Does anyone ever call you Susie Q?”

Nope. Nobody, ever, in my entire life. Never. Not once. 

And by that I mean, yes. Everyone, always. For my entire life. Every time. Susie Q, all day every day, as the nickname-of-choice from every person I’ve ever met – and they always phrase it exactly like that, “Does anyone ever call you…” as if they legitimately think they might be the first one to ever come up with it. 

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate people associating me with Creedence Clearwater Revival and fun 50s characters from Disney channel movies. It could be worse. I could be a celebrity baby and have to forever answer to something like North West or Apple. Or I could be like Matthew McConnaughey’s nephew and be named “Miller Lyte” after his dad’s favorite beer. All things considered, “Susie Q” isn’t the worst nickname ever. 

But to make matters more complicated, Susie is not even my first name. 

“Oh, so it’s your middle name?” 

You would think so, wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t that be nice, to have a totally logical and non-convoluted answer to that question? But no, logic and simplicity must have been the last thing on my parents’ minds when they looked into my fat little baby face for the first time. Instead of just holding me up Lion King-style and triumphantly shouting “Citizens of the world, I give you: SUSIE!” like any other normal parent would, they completely threw the rulebook out the window. When the nurse kindly drafted up the birth certificate and, pen-in-hand, asked what they would like to name their new little baby – they decided to give me a whole phrase of a name. 

When I picture this now, I imagine them scheming like cartoon villains, rubbing their hands together and laughing maniacally. “We’ll name her Mary. But she won’t be called Mary – no no, that would be much too easy – Write this down, nurse! This child will henceforth and forever be known as: 

‘Mary Susanne, Susie for short.’ 

MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.”

I do not go by my first or middle names. I go by an abbreviated version of my middle name. And “Mary Susanne, Susie for short” became the slogan of my entire existence, confusing every teacher and employer alike for the rest of my life. 

Having to go through this every time I was introduced to someone became so monotonous, that at one point in my childhood I went through a phase where I decided to rewrite the history of my nomenclature. It went like this: 

“Well my parents named me Mary, but I never really felt like a Mary, you know? So one day I just woke up, and decided I didn’t want to be called Mary anymore, and I told people to start calling me Susie – and they did! So anyway that’s the story about how I, Susie, am the master of my own destiny and in other words am the coolest person ever.” 

It was still a weird thing to explain, but it at least felt better to frame it as a personal choice, and paint this picture that I’m the kind of person who just wakes up in the morning and decides to redefine her whole existence. It gave me a sense of power and control that “I dunno, my parents are weird” just didn’t achieve. I stuck with this story for so long that there is an absolute possibility that there are still people in my life who believe it to be true. (And if any of those people are reading this right now, disregard this entire post. It went down exactly how I said it went down.) 

In the end, though, I guess Susie’s pretty cool. I like to think that I’m “math problem famous” – as in, Susie has 12 apples and gives Billy 4; how many apples does Susie have left?

That all depends, though, did Billy call me Susie Q? Because if so, just screw the whole thing. No apples for Billy. Susie still has 12.

(In response to this DPChallenge)

107 thoughts on “Hello, My Name Is…

  1. I will answer to Suzie, SuzieQ, Suz, Q and even Suzanne but never Sue. Don’t call me Sue and expect me to answer.

  2. I like both Mary and Susie my name is Amy….. Growing up I had 5 Amy’s in my first grade class so I guess it was just a very common name that I actually hate but I am stuck with it I will always be known as the girl with the Pom poms because Amy is for the be-boppy cheerleading happy go lucky girl.

    1. That IS one thing I have probably taken for granted – I would hate to be in a class with four other Susies. But I did have a best friend in elementary school named Amy! And she definitely wasn’t a be-boppy cheerleading happy go lucky girl, so I wouldn’t worry about that stereotype too much. haha 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

    1. That legitimately made me laugh out loud. You had some clever classmates 😉 Initials are sometimes just as important – I love mine right now because MSW is the same upside-down as rightside-up (don’t ask me why I ever devoted a thought to that, or why it matters, but I thought it was cool…) but if I end up marrying my current boyfriend my initials will be MSN, so I guess I can prematurely relate in some way to that predicament. Although I think Annabanana is adorable. Thanks for the comment!

      1. Those “clever classmates” that you are so enamored of made my life a living hell. The name calling was just their opening salvo. I was bullied, hounded, ganged up on, sexually harassed, and forced into a lonely exile until college, at which point I changed my name to start a new life.

        People like that are the reason I only shrug when yet another teen walks into a high school with a semiautomatic weapon and mows his peers down. I totally get it, I really do.

    2. I truly apologize. I read your comment as a joke, but if your classmates had a malicious intent – which they clearly did, if name-calling was only the beginning – then it is obviously no laughing matter. I am so sorry that you had such a horrific experience, and admire you for changing your name and starting anew. I hope that you have found happiness in your new life – and moreover I hope that someday kids will be spared such mindless bullying, thereby making school shootings a tragedy that we do more than “shrug” at.

      1. Oh, I did more than shrug. I clapped and fist-pumped. I was a few miles away from Columbine when it happened and I felt simultaneously horrified and strangely proud at the same time. After thousands upon thousands of kids quietly, hopelessly commit suicide each year (yep, still one of the top killers of folks under 21) it was a bizarre relief to see, shall we say, a more proactive stance towards desperation. For the first time, the bullied weren’t just crawling under a rock and conveniently disappearing so we could all just change the subject, plop down in front of the television, and forget about what’s actually going on out there.

        Only the ones who have truly been in hell understand this reaction among each other. We’re like the soldiers who have experienced soul-crushing horrors in the battlefield who came home to bear the ignorant masses blurting stupid crap like, “You’re just a killer.”

        Not in those conditions. In those conditions, it’s called surviving, and when you’re desperate, you do whatever you can. For decades, society has enjoyed sweeping emotionally tortured kids under the rug. Now that those same kids are turning the tables and finally pulling the rug out from under society, it’s our battle-scarred turn to smirk and say, “Look what it took to finally get you all to look up and give a damn.”

      2. I live near a heartbroken family and mother who has a candle glowing every night, every single aching night, from a now empty bedroom that I see when out on my deck in the evening. It is a mother from Columbine for a daughter who never bullied anyone and didn’t even know the killer. It is a beautiful life that ended in a tragic moment because some one else decided to bully and intimidate with guns. And your response is a clap and fist pump? You don’t get it and the real tragedy is you probably never will. You only think you do because you are under some misguided notion that you, along with others in your exclusive club of desperate, emotionally tortured souls, are the only ones to have experienced the agonizing cruelty of being bullied, harassed, or lived in hell at some point in your lives. And worse yet, you think the rest of us can never truly appreciate what you have gone through. Truth be told, we have all lived it, been to hell … granted some longer than others. You are not so unique. But how one chooses to respond when in the depths of despair is the true test of character and courage. Taking a life isn’t a proactive stance. It’s a cowardly stance and that is what I fear you, Allthoughtswork, may never truly grasp. I ache for you and the pain you must have suffered. But I ache more for the home, the family, the empty bedroom with the candle forever burning in the lonely window, for the daughter.

  3. This was hilarious!! My maiden name is “baroni”–growing up I got “balogna, macaroni” and for awhile i was “Step-on-me Balogna”. Thank you Full House….

  4. I had a co worker named Suzy..the manager had Suzy-Q put on her new tag..and have forever called her Booty-Q she still blushes..but she knows I mean it in the best way 🙂

  5. I am not sure how old you are, but THANKFULLY the latest generations are great Beatles fans and the swoons of “Michelle my belle” hasn’t been sang to me in some years now. :: sigh ::

  6. My parents named me Kathryn Rose. I tell people my name is Katie. Most people I’m close to call me Kate. I refer to myself as Kitty. My Dad just calls me whatever he wants. His favorites are Peanut Butter and Fluff Muffin.

  7. My name is Juanita. My family calls me Nita for short. People confuse it with Anita or Jewanita. It drive me crazy because its Juanita or Nita. Not anything else. Totally understand.

    1. I like Nita! And I agree – I wish I could give people a list of things to call me. Please only refer to this list, do not deviate from the list. haha 🙂 Thanks for the comment, Nita!

  8. My name is Lola, and even though it is more common now, people used to ask me if it was my real name for a long time. Once some little mean girls even told me that it was a dog-name… My last name is Sanchez Lopez. Long one. So, yeah I know the feeling of being asked to retell your name. But I dont care much though, because I really love my name.
    Susie congrats on your post, I laughed a lot!

    1. I love the name Lola! And the song Copacabana, but that’s beside the point. 🙂 But I get that too – nobody actually believes that my name is Susie. Throughout high school I had a friend whose older brother was convinced that “I’m spending the night at Susie’s house” was code for “I’m going to a party tonight.” But thank you for your comment and I’m glad it made you laugh!

  9. Loved your post… here in Brazil some people think it’s fancy to have a name written with double letters or Y instead of I … my husband is Saymon, not Simon… he gets crazy every time he needs to spell it…

  10. Haha I loved reading this! I was always the same. I’m Barbara, but got ‘hey do people call you Barbie?!’ All the time from each new person…sigh it’s exhausting trying to explain that theycan call me everything else they can think of but not BARBIE! >_<

    1. I have a friend named Barbara who says the same thing! I wonder if there are any Barbaras in the world who actually go by Barbie anymore now that the dang doll stole all the Barbie thunder. haha 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

  11. My given name is Sheila, I love it when people spell it with a “Z” My favorite is when someone says, “Oh, my Aunts name was Shirley. Then calls me Sylvia for the rest of the day. I prefer Odd, no one has ever spelled it wrong.. great post thanks.

  12. Funny, I’m named after my Dad and being a Junior people tend to find all kinds of creative ways to shorten my name…. #2, Jr, J.R., Mike, Mikey, Mikey J, Mikey Jr, MJ (weird)… down to a friend who always called me by my initials MRE2.
    Great post.

  13. My name is Doris. And when I meet people they usually say: “Ahh…the daughter of Oceanus and mother of the sea-nymph Nereids” But that’s just because of the sort of people I knock around with.

  14. My name is Olivia and I always get “does anyone ever call you Olive?? Or Olive Oil? Do you know what that’s from???”

    1. Yes, they call me Olive. You can too if you want, I actually like it.
    2. No one calls me Olive Oil because that takes even more effort to say that Olivia.
    3. Yes I know what it’s from. Only everyone in the entire planet has mentioned this to me so yes, yes I know. But thanks for checking.

    1. Isn’t it so adorable when they ask you if you KNOW that your name exists somewhere else in pop culture? It makes me want to go: No, actually, I had no idea. REALLY?! You’re kidding. A cartoon character? With that name?! Well call me a monkey’s uncle. 😉 I’m actually a big fan of the name Olive after the movie Easy A. Thank you for the comment, Olivia!!

  15. I have decided to write more. I, too, am putting together a WordPress website. Dang, what work. After trying out all 279 themes, I finally settled on one, but because I sampled them all, I can’t remember its name now. Which one did you choose? Nice pick. … Good luck

  16. Nice! My dad and I are both named Denis. Got called Denise too often. Or Denis the Menace. The running joke is “yes i spell it with one “N”, was too poor for the second one on my birth certificate.”

    1. Also strange: This comment was flagged as spam for some reason! 😦 I’m sorry I didn’t get to read the long version, but thanks for stopping by and I’m glad you enjoyed it!!!

  17. Loved this post. It caught my eye because I have also had similar experiences growing up. The humor and sarcasm set the pace for me to read on. I really enjoyed your writing style and comfort with the way you completely rebuked the way your name has been mistreated.
    My name is Patricia McHugh. I felt the “Q” part of the mistreatment too. My first name had been reduced to Pat and Patty Cake. My last name had been reduced to ma-q-ball. I hate the name Pat. It’s a cold name. It is also short for Patrick. After years of having both my first and last name abused, I dropped the “pa” off my name and became Tricia. I was quite satisfied. So cudos to you and let’s rejoice for taking control over our names!

    1. Yay for taking back the reins! 🙂 Funny enough, an old coworker used to call me Susie-Q-Ball, so that must not be too original of a joke. 😉 But I like Tricia too, kudos and thanks for the comment!

  18. I understand. My full name is Marilynn Ruth. But I have always been called Mary Ruth. Every time I am introduced to someone it’s like they are surprised to hear my name. Or they think I say Meredith.

    I even try pronouncing it slow so they understand, yes it is a DOUBLE name.

    And no my last name is not Ruth.

    Or one if my favorites is “is your middle name Ruth?” Seriously people!

  19. I have a friend whose brother’s name is Gift of God. They call him Gift for short. Tricky thing to have a phrase for a name…and no small pressure to try to live up to having God in your name.

    I enjoyed reading your post. Great voice!

  20. Great post, I often think life would be easier if we could let our kids name themselves… but then we would probably have a lot of kids with the name LEGO or Bart Simpson (actually, does anyone still watch The Simpsons?)
    As for me: Natasha – Nat, Natty, Tash, Tasha. Nat the Rat, Nat the Cat, Gnat (hah hah!), Nit Nat Paddywack… oh I had so many as a kid. Nat is the go to but I don’t really like it, because it is so infantalising. I’d much rather Tash or Tasha.

    And everyone always asks me (like 99% of the time) – Is that a Russian name? Are you Russian? Actually, it’s not just Russian (it might be Ukrainian) and Russians have told me it’s a nickname for Natalya (like Sally is a nickname for Sarah). And I’m Australian with not even a drop of Russian in me. heh.

    1. Oh my gosh, what a cool world we would live in if kids were able to name themselves. I probably would have picked Lucy; I was a huge I Love Lucy fan growing up. Thank you for the comment, Natasha Tasha Tash Lego! 😉

  21. Enjoyed your post very much. Could easily relate to it. My surname is McDonald so (of course) I grew up with ‘Old McDonald had a farm’. Or ‘eiei o…’ Fun times! 🙂 xxx

  22. I always wondered why people can’t just call each others by their names…My first name is Bettina, so, of course, my nickname is Betty Boop. Or Betty, Tina, Tinchen. In Poland, they call me Bettinka. Nobody is being called by their real name here, too official. And really confusing. Jerze becomes Jurek, Malgorzata becomes Gosia, Katarzyna becomes Kasia, Grzegorz becomes Grzesiek. Took me a while to figure out who is who.
    My best friend calls me Bee, somehow I like that. But still, I actually like my name and think it’s a shame nobody calls me like that.

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