Saturday, January 25, 2014

PotAto, Potato, let's work the whole thing out.

This blog is dedicated to my family who have known me my entire life as, Maria (who?).

Okay, correction.  This post is written in mind for my dear friends and blog readers who've known me over the years as, Bri (excuse me?).

Then of course there's my intimate friends, nieces and nephews who call me, Breezy (what the..?).

For clarification purposes, I was born with the name, Maria Terese Bryant.  "Bri" arrived as a pseudonym in junior high (I'll explain that in a moment), and established itself as a permanent nickname in high school.  Now that I'm in my mid 40's and have been married twice, signing my name has become as confusing as this blog is to read.  Do I sign that as Maria Mills or Bri Mills?  Oops, It doesn't matter anyway because now I'm Mrs. Potts.  Dammit, I have to keep this business straight!

I chose to have an "aka" as a twelve year old because I was a silly adolescent with dreams of - hush now - making out (shudder) with a young man in the class above me.  I attended a very small Catholic elementary school and GOD FORBID should someone outside my "inner circle" of most trusted compatriots learn of my lurid desires.  Back in those days there was no texting.  The nuns were still mutilating our ears with chalk on black boards.  Paper passing was the preferred means of discussing the details of little girls' love traps.  So, I needed a name lest my naughty thoughts were read by one of the enemies; the classroom boys.

My BFF - Best Friend Forever (Oh my God, gag me with a silver spoon!) - babysat a little girl next door whose name just happened to be, Breanna.  I thought it was the loveliest name I'd ever heard and so decided to borrow, shorten and make it my own but with an "i" as in, Bri.  Of course my amour needed a nickname too.  It was, after all, a very small school and he was one of only thirty or so students in the eighth grade.  If Sister Mary Agnel were to read, "Bri wants to get her hands on David", and obviously there was only one David..Uh OH!  Hmm?  David's nickname you ask?  Owen Corningware.  I was twelve.  Let's not dwell on this, shall we?

During freshman orientation for high school, the nuns asked if we had a preferred nickname.  What?  I had just spent eight years with the same thirty-two kids known as Maria Bryant, and suddenly I could be someone new?  "Yes, please.  Call me, Bri."  The chrysalis had begun.

As I look back, I can understand my mother's annoyance.  She had the right to name me and within the first thirteen years of my life, I tossed her name carelessly out the classroom window.  The thought hadn't occurred to me until Eric, my current husband and a close friend since high school, called and asked to speak with "Bri".  "No one lives here by that name."

Eric clearly confused said, "But this was the number I was given and Bri asked me to go to Sadie Hawkins with her."   Exasperated my mother told him to wait while she went to get me.

Why, my dear friends and blog readers ask, am I writing about this today?  In all honesty, I was annoyed at my Godmother earlier this week.  I was addressing a card and didn't know whether to mail it to Aunt Sheila or Aunt Shelly.  You see, she's had a name change conversion too.  My Godmother has recreated herself much later in life than I did but it still creates havoc with how the family now addresses her.

Who am I to argue with a name?  Who cares?  Sheila?  Shelly?  Maria?   Bri?  Let's work the whole thing out.