Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Identitiy Crisis

If you have known me for more than a few years, you will have known me to have had an Identity Crisis.  And if you have known me for my whole life- then you know what I am talking about.  

When I was born my mom named me Kathryn .  I don't think the name had any real significance other than that my mom thought it was pretty.  And I don't think she had any intention of sticking to that pretty name. I think I was always Katie.  (Or the Michelin Man, but it was not my mom who gave me that name, and if you need a really good laugh you can go back and look at the pics here)

Of course there have been other variations of Katie.  My mom usually called me "My Katie" (I don't know if she called any of my other siblings "My" but I always thought it was special).  Sometimes my sister called me KatieBug.  My uncle (and most of my cousins) called me Katie Kangaroo.  And everyone who is now 50 years or older called me "Ka ka ka Katie, Beautiful Katie" (which is not so much a reference to my amazing good looks as it was an old song).

You can see that when I went into Kindergarten it was a struggle to choose which of these names I would use.  I played it safe and went with Katie.  That is until first grade- when the unthinkable happened.  There were two Katie's in my class.  What?! Two Katies?  At first this wasn't a big deal.  I could handle being Katie N.  The other Katie was a little bit different, you could say, but no biggie, it's not like we were twins or anything.  Then one day, to be mean- someone called me a name.  Not Katie N.  But Katie ______.  Yep, instead of calling me freckle face, or super model, they used her full name as an insult.  (kids can be so mean)  I was horrified.  I could handle being Katie N.  but not Katie ______.  I had to change my name immediately.  Luckily with a name like Kathryn there were tons of options.  I went to Kate.  Problem solved.

Unfortunately when I matured and went on to Third Grade she was in my class again.  But by then I had outgrown Kate and moved on to my sophisticated full name Kathryn.  Oh it was regal.  Suddenly I was being called Kathryn the Great. (ok, only by my teacher, but still - it's royalty!)  But after a few years I realized the name was  a little bit too heavy for a class clown.

I transitioned back to Katie when I went to Middle School and stayed Katie ever since.  Sorta. (P.S. in case you were worried, Katie _____  moved away and I was never insulted with her name again)  I pretty much stayed Katie from then on.  (Unless you knew me at EFY, then I was CK- but only at EFY.  So the few times I heard a young elder in the MTC yell "Hey, CK!  Remember me?" I always knew it was a former EFY kid.   You would actually be surprised how many times I heard that.) This whole name thing has always been a joke in my family.  For years my family would laughingly ask which name I preferred that day, as if I was fickle enough to change it on a daily basis, and as if they were going to stop calling me Michelin Man.

At one point, as a young adult I handed my I.D. to a girl who just stared at it in shock.  She looked at it- then me and pointed out that we had the same name.  Same full name.  I just gawked at her long slender body, thick auburn hair, and sparkly green eyes and quickly explained that I am a Katie.  She could keep Kathryn, it seemed to fit her better.  Remember the whole royalty thing?  I think it fits tall, skinny, gorgeous red heads better than it fit me.  And besides, the shock on her face told me I couldn't pull it off. 

So here I am Katie.  Only I kinda wish I wasn't.  What?!  Having another identity crisis, at your age?  Yeah, maybe.  The thing is- the whole time I was Katie to everyone - I was always "Kate" to my closest friends.  If I go to my home ward where I grew up - a lot of them still call me Kate.  If you talk to most of my siblings- they call me Kate. If you ask my best friends- I am Kate.  But it isn't a name for everyone.  It is just a name from my close friends. In fact, I don't ever introduce myself as Kate- that sounds way too intimate - like sharing a bowl of cereal, you just don't do that with strangers. 

The weird thing is my closest friend ever, JT obviously, has doesn't call me Kate. (JT - whose name is actually Jonathan.  He would never introduce himself as JT- because it is like sharing cereal, you know.  But everyone calls him JT anyways.  So this nick name thing has gone in the reverse for him.  Now his nick name is more of his real name and his real name has become his work name! weird. )   The other weird thing is: why am I so attached to a nick name? Why do I care?  What makes me like having a nick name?  What makes me sad that most of my friends don't call me that name, what is my deal?  Why do I love hearing an old friend call me Kate?  I was just wondering about this (and if I need a shrink)....

When Riley turned to me and asked me to call her Ry.


So there it is: genetics.  I must have passed it on.  Apparently she is starting early.  It is going to be interesting how many nick names she can come up with from the name Riley.  Too bad I didn't bless her with an awesome name like Kathryn that you could change a million times (and even try to be royalty, or at least embarrassed by the girl at ZCMI).   Sorry, Riley, you are left with Ry.

(which is still better than Michelin Man)


  1. I had no idea your name is Kathryn. Wow. I have always loved your name. I think Katie Tyler sounds like a movie star name.

    1. Ashley, that's funny. When I first got married people said that to me all the time! (and of course, I loved it!) I do love "Katie" (I even like it way more than Kate) I think I just miss the closeness of being called Kate :)