The story of Georgie
Bob Marley isn’t my name. I don’t even know my name yet. –Bob Marley
I’ve gone solely by Georgie for the past few years. I haven’t always been called Georgie, but it’s always been me. My parents have always called me Georgie, apart from when my mum is a little bit more than annoyed and calls me by my full name.
I have heard stories from people who changed their names because their names were just “not them”. Famously, television host Andrew Günsberg changed his name from Andrew to Osher. A lot of celebrities change their name once they become famous. I’m sure Elton John didn’t want to be known as Reginald Dwight, and Iggy Azalea didn’t like her birth name, Amethyst. But that aside, Georgie is more or less a nickname for Georgina.
The same way you’d call Nicholas, Nick; Timothy, Tim; Benjamin, Ben; Samuel, Sam.
The Georgie Porgie
The interesting story about my name is that I used to hate being called Georgie. As a child, I was bullied a fair bit for being short, having exceptionally long hair, being very quiet and shy, being a “nerd”, and befriending people smarter than me. Needless to say, the worst was when it came to my name. I got a few “Georgina the Hyena” among the lovelier “Georgina the Ballerina” – which was fitting, mind you, because I was indeed a ballet dancer.
The worst was probably “Georgina the vagina”, which proved that people were incredibly immature because not only did they deliberately say my name incorrectly, but they thought it was funny.
When people found out that Georgie was an acceptable nickname for me, and furthermore, heard my mother calling me by Georgie, they decided to tease me about it. My mum had written my preferred name as “Georgie” on the application form for one of the primary schools I attended. I didn’t know this until I found that I was being called Georgie for attendance.
I sort of wish I had accepted the name then; it would have stuck quicker, and people would have gotten used to it more easily. Alas, I was upset by the “Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie” nursery rhyme chants, with people suggesting that my name was a boy’s name, or that I was gay and liked girls.
I give up: The “Just Call Me Anything”
I disliked being bullied, because I felt rather worthless and wanted to change my name immediately. But I couldn’t imagine being called Crystal (the name I had wanted for so long), despite being insanely jealous of a girl in my class who had the middle name Crystal. At this point I felt I liked my middle name, Celestine, more than my real name, but I couldn’t imagine being called that either. It constantly ticked in my head that my parents would be upset if I didn’t want to go by the name they chose for me.
In high school, I insisted on being called G or Gina, because my name was too long for people to holler in the corridor. I eventually adopted the nickname Jazzmo, derived from my love for jazz music and punk/emo fashion. Throughout high school I adopted many ridiculous nicknames that didn’t pertain to my name, almost as if I wanted to hide, or was ashamed of, who I really was. It was during high school that I came out of my shell and actually became more outgoing and eccentric.
Be the change you want to see
I don’t quite remember when I wanted to stop being called Georgina, but I remember that at the end of high school I didn’t want to be called Gina. I remember buying the domain georgie.nu, because georgina.nu was not available, and after some time, writing my name as “Georgina” didn’t feel right. I had always supplied a nickname when I wrote about myself or introduced myself to people, and now I didn’t really have one.
I remember talking to Seb about our nicknames (it’s pretty obvious what his full name is) and told him that I would introduce myself as Georgie from now on. Funnily enough, the next day we were taking part in a research survey and bumped into some of his friends, whereupon I said, “Hi, I’m Georgina. I mean, fuck, sorry, I’m Georgie, I don’t want to be called Georgina anymore.”
The transition was a gradual one, I suppose. It wasn’t a sudden realisation, but I found myself quietly changing my social media profiles to reflect my “new” name. I was no longer jeorgina but I was georgiecel – embracing part of my middle name as well.
Love whatever you are called.
I outline this in my LZRGUN Manifesto, but over time, I have learned to love whatever people call me. I now laugh at the bullies that called me silly names. I accept being called George, though I would certainly prefer Georgie. I get called GG, or Good Game (quite literally). My brother has always called me Cici, meaning “big sister”.
People still call me Georgina, and I flinch a little inside, feeling like that was a long-gone part of me. Other people are surprised that they are unaware of my full name, until they peek at my driver’s licence, or they are curious if I have a non-English name or if Georgie is actually my middle name.
Perhaps it wasn’t a big change at all – just a two-letter difference, really – but I think the story is in that I learned to love what I was called, and that I shouldn’t have cared if other people didn’t like my name. I love it, and it’s me, and it’s who I want to be.