Naturally, being the humble child that I was, I decided that if Alexander could be called "the Great" for having done those things, then I could do the same for future accomplishments. I started signing papers "Angenette the Great." In high school, it was shortened to A the Great or even AtG. Such was the frequency with which I used it, teachers would accept homework with just "A the Great" as my name and not blink.
My mother made me a quilt for one of my big teen birthdays (I think 15 or 16). I still have it because it's the best blankie in the world. It has plaid on one side (because I wore grunge-inspired plaid shirts every day) and fuzzy faux fur on the other side. On the fur side, she embroidered "A the Great."
For my 40th birthday, my mom made me another quilt with the same thing embroidered on the corner to take the place of my 25 year old original. It didn't take the place of it, actually. Now I have 2 wonderful blankies.
The point is, my nickname was well-known. It was well-used. It was well-received(actually, I don't know if that's true). When I got to college, I had just gone through a humbling, teen-angst experience, and didn't feel like the "Great" part fit anymore. I thought it best to leave that part of my childhood behind. I was just Angenette, Ang, or AP. I showed flashes of greatness, but not what I expected of myself as a kid. I figured there was plenty of time for that later, as so many college students do.
Fast forward to 2007. I had just given birth to my 2nd kid and my family had moved temporarily from Tacoma, WA to Utah for my husband to finish his graduate program. My grandma Nettie had passed away not too long ago. I was named after her and always loved her nickname, but she strictly forbade me from using it while she was alive because she hated being called Nettie.
|4 Angenettes, back in the day|
Since I was starting with a clean friend slate with the move, so to speak, and Nettie wasn't there to give me her patented glare, I thought it the perfect time to try a social experiment. When we moved to Sandy, Utah, I didn't introduce myself as Angenette. I introduced myself as Neti (I used my own spelling).
People believe me. I became Neti. Even a few of my lifelong friends (and 1 sib!) made the switch from Angenette to Neti. Neti is fun. It's short. It doesn't come with a long, annoying explanation of where the name Angenette comes from.
Lately I've been missing where the name Angenette comes from. I've been missing being Angenette. I've missed the familiarity of "Ang." I've missed the strength that comes from the name Angenette. Seeing the A the Great on my new blanket reminded me that it's not too late to reclaim the title of A the Great.
I spent last year focussing on being truly happy. This year I will focus on being Great like I once thought I could be. It's not going to be overnight, and I may forget, but it's my goal. Perhaps, as my friends, you can help me remember?
I'm done with introducing myself as Neti -- for now, at least. If that's how you know me and want to keep calling me that, it's ok. I still like the name. It's fun and short and easy to sign. Otherwise, it's time to be Angenette and learn to be smart and wise and thirst for knowledge, just like the original A the Great. Maybe with a little less bloodshed.