I shall bring an end to this existential, midlife drama with an announcement: I am going to stick with Margaret.
This is not to say that I don’t like “Maggie,” because I do. (As you well know.) You are welcome to call me Maggie if you’re so inclined, or you may call me Margaret.
You may not call me Madge or Daisy.
I have given a lot of thought to this decision—too much, probably, in light of the Really Big Problems out there—and I’ve come to the conclusion that it is okay to be different things to different people. It’s inevitable, really.
We all struggle with who we are and where we’ve gone wrong, and I think our birth name embodies this inner agony. Growing up, I was Margie (with a hard “g”) to my family; I still am, to this day, and I truly love being Auntie Margie to my nieces and nephews.
“Maggie” I picked for myself after my conversion, and that right there should tell you why I’m drawn to it. I was a fun-loving waitress named Maggie at TGIFridays, and I was “Captain Maggie” on the busload of teenagers that I chaperoned during World Youth Day ’93.
Did I need a name to be either of these people? Of course I didn’t, but I have very happy memories associated with both.
A dear friend of mine (and goodness knows my friends have been patient with all this) sent me an email in which she remarked:
“People like you and me, we don’t always know who we really are. We are very good at seeing all the negative aspects of our character and we are also very skilled at seeing who we want ourselves to be or who we think we SHOULD be. My therapist calls that part of me my ‘aughtism’.”
So true. So very true.
For the record, my husband calls me Maggie (at times) and Margaret on other occasions. His family calls me Maggie and I love that they do.
There is an intimacy in nicknames, however, that I think makes some people uncomfortable. It is a little like inviting a priest over to watch football and then asking if he’d like to change into sweatpants. (A true story, told to me by a priest friend.) I am no priest, of course, but I am respectful of the need for…
…what? Tradition? Formality? Sticking with the name of my patron saint? Whatever the reason, I’ve reached a decision.
Margaret in Minnesota it is.
Thank you for all the comments. They’ve been a fun and interesting ride! Although comparing this name change thing to the artist formerly known as Prince, Jamie? That alone made me want to stick with Margaret! (Hee.)
Many of you spoke up for the first time and for that, too, I thank you. It’s good to know you’re out there and that *sniff!* you care.
Ad majorem Dei gloriam, always,