I wasn’t sure what to name my blog’s URL.  The title was easy; I can change it whenever I want.  But the URL is a commitment. Long term – the kind I avoid.  I wasn’t sure what the blog would be for – traveling, thoughts, humor, reviews – but I knew it was ultimately a reflection of myself and needed to be named appropriately.

Names are important.  They are an entire history infused with meaning, stories, ideas.  Children are named after parents, relatives, close family members, inspiring artists, and yes, the occasional family pet.  You are given a name when you are born, not simply to help the nurse differentiate you from all the other wrinkly red creatures, but to provide you with a context: you are not alone.  You part of a grander scheme, you were expected, and you are worth defining.

My name is Irish.  This means its spelling has absolutely no correlation to its pronunciation.  I am not Irish.  This means that I’ve spent my life surrounded by people who don’t understand why its spelling has no correlation to its pronunciation.

When my dad was a teenager, he met a little girl named Siobhan and thought it was the most beautiful name in the world.  He declared that his first daughter would have this marvelous appellation bestowed upon her.  People in my family are dramatic like that.  Four years into his marriage, I was born in a small hospital in Abu Dhabi, delivered by Irish midwives and given the name which had been chosen many years ago.

Which brings me to my point.  “Siobhan” has birthed a multitude of nicknames throughout my life, including “Shablond, Shake-your-bon bon, Bonnie, Ronnie, Vonnie, Vince, Shivettes, Sho, Shove, Shiv, Shananana, Bhan Bhan,” and more.  I have a fairly typical opinion of nicknames: most are endearing, many are flattering, but some are awful.  I always hated “Shivskies.”  I’m not sure when the repulsion started, but the name just grated.  It was always the one I wouldn’t tell people when they asked about nicknames.

Years passed.  I went to high school. College.  Shivskies was a thing of the past, a long forgotten childhood nickname that nobody in my new circles knew.  And one day I started thinking about it.  I couldn’t remember why I had ever hated it so much.  Maybe I never had.  Maybe it was one of those ideas I had on a whim, and then clung to for no reason except habit and fear of changing my mind.  I’m dramatic like that.

So now I use it as my URL.  It gives me the freedom to take my blog in any direction I want.  It’s the result of letting go of a rootless aversion, of reexamining my ideas.  That’s the thread I want to run throughout this blog.  Honesty.  Flexibility.  Personality.


Or:  Hi.  My name is Siobhan.  Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you enjoy my blog.

8 thoughts on “Shivskies

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  1. So exciting. This feels like a very grown-up blog. I might be too young for it.
    Always remember, you could have been “Grain”, pronounced “Gran-ya” and boy, would the yanks have had fun with that.

    Looking forward to lots of good reading!


  2. I love the name Siobhan. When my husband and I thought we might have children (which we didn’t because we are too old), I argued for Siobhan as a girl’s name. He didn’t want something people wouldn’t be able to spell easily, but at least he didn’t suggest Alexis or Crystal. Or Emma or any of the other names du jour.


  3. Thanks! I’m fond of it myself (though spelling it does get annoying). I’m probably going to blog sometime soon about how many times people have told me that they looove the name Siobhan but would NEVER give it to their daughter, because they just wouldn’t do that to her. (hmmm that pretty much sums it up…)


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