For the first few years, they called me Dee, presumably because that's the only way my brother - a scant 20 months older than me - was able to say my name when I was born. But even after my brother graduated to polysyllabic words, my grandparents still wouldn't call me Judy. Instead, I was Mitzi.
Now, the on-the-surface, thoroughly ironic explanation for this was that my grandmother loved the actress/singer/dancer Mitzi Gaynor so much she was hoping by some weird namesake osmosis that I'd inherit some of Mitzi's long-legged beauty and talent. (The truth for my name rejection, as it turns out, was sadder. My maternal uncle was left at the altar by a woman named Judy, and the name was a hurtful reminder, especially for my grandmother.)
Even as a little kid who didn't find out the truth until much later, I knew there were holes in the nickname explanation. My grandmother was absolutely gaga for Rock Hudson and yet the only thing she ever called my brother was Joey. But more than that, what I was told just didn't ring true instinctively, and because of this one day I put down my very ungraceful, very chubby foot and and insisted in a very non-melodic voice that everyone, including my grandparents, call me by my real name. To my surprise, they agreed.
In a flash my identity changed. And even though I was the one who initiated the change it was unsettling. Who I was and how I viewed myself my whole life became instantly just so different.
Flash forward more than four decades to today and I am experiencing an identity crisis all over again, thanks to something I once again initiated; I insisted my husband and I do a MyHeritage DNA Kit just for fun. Now with the results in, I am unsettled. I am unsettled because everything about who I am and how I have viewed myself my whole life is just so different.
Until next blog post....