Archives for February 2011


I’ve had four names in my life. It’s hard to keep track.

Occasionally, when I meet a person for the first time, as we are shaking hands and exchanging names, I have to pause. It’s a brief pause, but it’s still noticeable and just a little awkward. I’m trying to remember my name.

“Hi, so good to meet you, I’m Jay…no, I’m Nic…no, I’m…shit…Elizabeth. That’s it. I’m Elizabeth.”

My first name: The Korean name I got when I was born in South Korea. My three surviving grandparents got together, consulted a “wise person” who doled out prosperous names to newborns as a side gig, and got my name: Rae Jin.

My second name: The American name I got six minutes before my family registered me for kindergarten. They flipped through an old magazine in the school office and came across Jayne Barbera’s name. Ok, done deal: Jayne.

My third name: After 6 years as Jayne, I decided I needed a little pizazz in my life. But what? A new hobby? A new bedspread? No, a new name!

I narrowed down my list to just four choices:

  • Brooke
  • Mickey (After the mouse. I shit you not.)
  • Nicky
  • Elizabeth

After a few weeks of back-and-forth, I decided against the first two names. Then, I couldn’t decide between the last two. I liked the hard “k” sound in Nicky, but I loved the way my math teacher, Ms. Elizabeth G, wrote her name on the blackboard.

So, I combined the two. Nicky Elizabeth.

This is why we don’t allow fifth graders to name themselves: NICKY ELIZABETH.

For close to a month, I insisted everyone call me by my new pizazz-y name. I wrote it on all of my homework, forced my friends to address me by the name in its entirety (not Nick or just Nicky or just Elizabeth. I demanded the full NICKY ELIZABETH.)

I changed my mind after I started getting hand cramps each time I wrote my name.

My fourth name: I decided to keep “Elizabeth.” Ms. G made it look so damn good on the blackboard. In homage to my family, who didn’t kick me out of the house for going through an early life identity crisis, I threw “Jayne” back in: Elizabeth Jayne.

Today, I’m legally Elizabeth Jayne. Well, when I remember anyway.
Did you ever want another name?

Homies and Homettes

The lovely Marinka gave me the opportunity to guest post on her hilarious blog, Motherhood in NYC. As thanks, I offered to put a dollar bill in her underwear the first time we met in person. She hasn’t responded to that yet. I’m certain that means “yes.”

Support a fellow homette…go on over. I talk about sweaty ex-cons. You know, just the stuff that makes up my normal life.

click here to read  Homies and Homettes
photo via pimpprint shop @