Legally my name is Nicole Marie. Nicole is apparently French in origin meaning "Victory of the People". Marie is also apparently French meaning "Sea of Bitterness". Now, I don't really care about what the meanings are of my names but I found it kind of interesting.
As a child I was not called Nicole. At home, church, school, and everywhere else I was Nikki. I'm not really sure when I began to be Nicole at school. Sometime after Kindergarten, perhaps in first or second grade. That's when my names divided. At school I was Nicole and everywhere else I was Nikki.
Nicole was the name used by my parents when I was in trouble. I was simply Nikki. That's what I responded to and that's who my parents introduced me as. It was comfortable and familiar. It was me. In high school, although the teachers and peers called me Nicole, my friends called me Nikki. I had become quite used to responding to both names.
When I got a job at 16, I was working with a woman from my ward and I was still Nikki. It was my second job, working at Wendy's with my older brother Josh, that my morph into two people began again. I became Nicole. Even my brother sometimes called me Nicole. So now I was Nicole at both school and work. Nikki was slowly fading into the background. My relatives still referred me to Nikki and so did the people from church.
I moved out after graduation. Nikki faded nearly into oblivion. I was Nicole at school, work, and church. At that time I was Nikki to my roommates, but currently I am Nicole now. The only ones who call me Nikki are close friends and my family.
In my mind, I'm Nikki. Although I respond to Nicole, when I talk to myself (and I do talk to myself... a lot) I am still simply Nikki. It's an inner battle that I have. Who is more dominant? Nicole or Nikki? This battle comes into play when I introduce myself. The winner comes out depending on the situation. At work, I'm Nicole and at church and school. Once I was with my friend Michelle and when it came time to tell my name I literally paused, unable to decide who I was.
Sometimes, these 'battles', as I call them, bug me. Don't I know who I am? Don't I know what I am called? It's an issue I have been contemplating for some time now, as I slowly lose the person I used to be and start morphing into this "adult" version of myself.
I guess I'm both. As an adult I am Nicole. As myself... I am Nikki. The question is... who is going to end up winning?