What’s in a nickname?

So why is it I’m called Kitty?  I think the 1950s had a lot of little baby girls given the names Katherine, Katharine, Kathleen or the like. Well I came along at the end of that cluster.  One of my Dad’s sisters quickly decided I would not be called Kathy, Kate, Kay – any of those common diminutives.  No, she liked cats and I was going to be called “Kitty.”  That was fine & dandy with my Dad’s side of the family.  Relatives on my Mom’s side would continue to use my full given name.

I noticed, and decided I liked Kitty.  I didn’t give the underlying dynamics of my family much thought until – oh maybe my late 30s.

I did,  however, decide when I headed off to college it was time for something less childish.  I dreamed I might become a Kate.  Some people pull off nickname changes.  I was not one of them. I remained “Kitty” to all who knew or met me.

In my mid twenties there was a boss who cringed at my nickname.  For half a second I thought he might be right, that I needed to be called by my full name to be seen as a grown-up.  I wasn’t thrilled &  then a couple seconds later it clicked that his hang up was not the cute factor but more likely a slang issue.  On the turn of a dime I decided too bad, I’m Kitty and he would just have to deal with that like a grown-up!  Tables turned.

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