Reverb10: New Name

December 23rd, 2010

The sign from my grandfather's boat, the "Kyran."My family also had a canoe we called the "Leaky Kiki."

(Happy Tib’s Eve! I’m not going even to attempt a segue to explain my absence. Suffice it to say: three children X Christmas.)

December 23 – New Name

Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?

(Author: Becca Wilcott)

I’m often asked about my unusual name. First, it’s pronounced KEERun (with a slight rolling ‘r’ when spoken by a Newfoundlander or Irishman). Second, it’s an uncommon spelling of a fairly common Irish name. For boys. There are Kierans galore in Ireland, and a few Kyrans in Newfoundland, but all my life, I was the only girl Kyran I ever knew. My mother recently discovered a younger one on Facebook, and we almost sent her parents a cease and desist letter. I’ve always loved having a unique name, and I’ve never much wished it was anything else.

But I do have a second, secret name.

When I was a baby, I couldn’t even pronounce “Kyran.” I called myself “Kiki” instead. And so, to my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and all the members of our gypsy tribe, I was always Kiki. I left the name behind when I left Newfoundland. Not on purpose. It’s simply an endearment that resides with those who knew me when.

As I’ve crossed over into mid-life, I’ve begun to miss my old name. I’d never want to give up being Kyran, but if I could reintroduce myself –to my intimate friends, though, not to strangers– it would be as Kiki.

Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next.

No Responses to “Reverb10: New Name”

  1. mark says:

    When I was growing up, Dad called “Sport” or “Tiger” Around age 30 I asked him to stop, thinking I was too old for such nonsense. I was wrong…

    Your telling of ‘Kiki’ reminds me of that in a warm, and charming fashion.

  2. Bon says:

    i love the concept of the secret name, the self unfurled to only a select few, the name that denotes your belonging to a particular group.

    in a sense, i brought out my own secret name when i began to blog, b/c i signed myself Bon rather than Bonnie. i have always been Bon, but never as a calling card, never as the name i introduced myself by. until i came out into the ether.

    Merry Christmas.

  3. littleyawps says:

    Kyran, between your post and Mark’s comment, I’ve been tabulating all the nicknames my parents had for me….mostly my dad, who used them endearingly (Petunia, Pokey Princess, Rosebud-which he still uses) and one from my more acerbic mother (Lady Jayne—when she was especially ticked). A happy trip through the memory banks.

    It’s true. They’re missed. And I’m not too old.

  4. Lisse says:

    Lisse is for Melissa. I was the only Melissa I knew until High School and then not only was she in my grade, but she had a twin sister with the same name as my sister.

    When I started blogging I noticed there were already several well-known Melissas around. Most are about 10 years younger as that is when the name became fashionable. Liss had been my nickname in HS and college, but I had a classmate with a lovely Jamaican accent who pronounced it Lease. Just about everyone with an accent pronounces my name MaLeesa, and my name in French classes was always Melisse, so I’ve shortened it accordingly.

  5. Shannon says:

    As the mommy of a 4 year old boy named Kieran (from Saskatchewan) I have often wondered if your name was pronounced the same. I think it’s a lovely name for a girl or a boy and Kiki is an ADORABLE nickname. Although I don’t know that I’d be able to get over my gender stereotypes enough to use it for my son. 🙂

  6. Mariellen says:

    I’ve always wondered why the Americans and canadians seem to have no problem pronouncing my name, despite the more unusual spelling. Even The French dance across it just fine, usually in French. The Brits almost universally stumble. Never figured it out. I like my name even though it’s a mouthful, and has been shortened de facto over the years to “Mrln” (pronounced “Merln”), by my siblings. It’s strange how our name shapes how we think of ourselves, isn’t it?

  7. Amanda says:

    My niece is named Kyran. Would you like her mother’s email address??? Heehee.

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