Today I write about someone I wish I could forget. Somehow, it just feels wrong to write about something that you wish to not remember. This could get sticky.
Her name was Becky. Still is Becky for all I know. I didn't like her very much. She lived up the street and she just annoyed me because she existed. She wasn't very pretty and she wasn't very smart and she laughed weird and smelled worse.
She was all the things that, as a grown-up, I know should not be held against her. But I was not grown up then. I was ten. And boy did I hold it all against her.
Mostly, I held it against her that she had my name.
How dare her.
With my name she held power. She could do weird stuff and people might think I did it. She could laugh her donkey laugh and someone might say, "who is making that racket?" and someone else would say, "oh, that's Becky." AND PEOPLE WOULD THINK IT WAS ME!
Identity theft is serious, people.
This had to be stopped.
Somewhere in the pre-teen mind there is a place where fantasy meets rationality
and beats it up real good.
That little pocket of insanity came up with a brilliant idea.
If I changed my name, people would never mix us up. I would be cool and she would be...her...
and nobody would ever mix us up.
Except for the fact that I wanted to keep my name. She stole it because she was stupid from birth and it simply wasn't fair. Besides, changing my name might be complicated. Getting everyone on board with calling me my new name would be impossible and probably some would think I was being ridiculous. This was hard.
hmmmm....what to do...what to do....
I thought about it for a long time. Days in fact. Then lightbulb.
Instead of changing my whole name I could just change how I spelled my name.
Then, nobody would ever mix us up.
She would be Becky with a y. The one that lived up the street and had all the uncool.
I would be Becki with an i. The one lived down the street. The one with the class and the brains.
I toyed a bit with that name spelling, never really satisfied with the look of the i.
Becki was a cheerleader that had cute freckles and giggled. The singular i was pert.
While it would serve to protect my identity,
it just didn't feel right.
I needed to try again.
The i seemed lonely. I decided to add an e.
Beckie seemed more dignified.
I did not realize that adding the e would mystify all spellers of my name forevermore.
I also did not realize that changing from y to i to ie would thoroughly confuse my poor daddy and cause at least one of my brothers to mock me for life.
Apparently it never ceases to be funny to ask me if I have changed my name spelling recently.
I have now lived under the ie for 35 years. They still spell it with a y at times.
My family is sometimes slow to catch on.
Beckie. I have defined her as her own bright self. Not to be confused with perky Becki. Never to be mixed with Becky up the street.
I think that I have forgiven Becky with a y her treachery. I feel no pain in writing her name. It belongs to her. I did not give it to her. But I was not willing to share so I had to re-write me a little bit.
I became the girl with the ie. I believed that the letters made a statement. Even tho you did not see those letters when you spoke my name, they existed. Different. Changed. Defiant and defined.
It's funny tho, when I write about my childhood pre-ten years old I write my name as Becky. I do not see the girl up the street. Only the child me that did not know another way to spell my name.
I will never forget you Becky up the street. You changed me. I wasn't nice about it.