My Name!

I've always been interested in names. I like making up people and giving them cool names in my stories and just for fun, and I pay attention to naming trends and the like. First thing's first: I'm going to tell you how I got my online nickname, SwankiVY, since I always get asked about it.

"Swank" is a style of music. While listening to the song "Wakko's Two-Note Song" on the Animaniacs soundtrack, my high school friend Mia and I attempted to put a name to each style of music in which the melody was repeated. One that I especially liked was called "swank," or so Mia said. I kept getting that part of the song stuck in my head, and while I was online in chat rooms, I would just say "swank swank" whenever I had nothing to say. SWANK!!! I liked the word. It also means "cool," and it means a few other things that describe me, such as "full of life or energy," "active," "fashionably elegant," "smart," and, unfortunately but appropriately, "ostentatious," "show-offy," "arrogant," and "pretentious." (Thanks, Merriam-Webster dictionary!) Sometimes I am all of those things, except maybe "fashionably elegant." I can't really see myself being that.

"IVY" is not my given name, but I use it in almost all online communication and often in "real life." I received this name when I was in high school from my best friend Meghan. She liked the Xanth series by Piers Anthony, and there were twin princesses in that story named Ida and Ivy. (Guess who I got to be?) It stuck, and I really liked it, seemed a lot more "me" than my given name in many ways (though my given name isn't too far off--more about that later). It became a sometimes-used nickname, until later that year. . . .

I wanted to sign up to become a priestess in the Church of the Subgenius. (If you want to know about them, go to their website.) I had to come up with some sort of name to use, and since Subgenii often use rather strange-sounding names, I wanted one too. I combined "swank" and "ivy" and ended up with SwankiVY. I messed with the capitalization so that instead of a capital at the beginning, the "iVY" had a lowercase I and the OTHER letters capitalized. I added "Queen of Budgiland" after it as my title . . . "Budgiland" evolved because "budgi" was a word my friends and I used to mean "cute," and I figured I might as well be the queen of a land of cute people. So, I had another mutation of my name. Many years later, I named my first website "Budgiland" so I could be its queen.

Finally, it became my much used-and-known screenname. (I was once just SwankiVY, on my mother's AOL account, then became SwankiVY1 when my mother, being somewhat computer illiterate at the time, thought that her computer's hard drive failure meant that her AOL account was suddenly gone, and she made me a new name; when she found out she had been paying for two AOL accounts for a couple months she just deleted the older one. Then when I became an AOL host and got my own account separate from my mom's, I became SwankiVY2.) I have been called Swankie/Swanky, Swankstress, Vee, and all kinds of funny things.

I like the name Ivy because it is somewhat unusual (especially with younger people) and because it has an interesting connection to nature (being that, well, it's a plant). The only thing I don't like, obviously, is the stupid Poison Ivy jokes. Like I haven't heard that thirty thousand times, right?

The "meaning" of the name Ivy is basically just the plant or "clinging vine," though if it is taken to be a derivative of "Ivana" (some say it is), then it means "Gift of God." In the baby-name books by Linda Rosenkrantz and Pamela Redmond Satran, the actual image of the name is explained rather than the ancient meaning that no one thinks of upon their first hearing the name. In Beyond Jennifer and Jason, the name "Ivy" is cited as being a delicate floral name that's "due for a revival"; as a "creative power name"; and as an "upwardly mobile name." See? It describes me! In the book The Last Word on First Names by the same authors, the following entry is made:

    IVY. Many might consider Ivy to be prohibitively old-fashioned, but we prefer to see it as offbeat, kinetic, energetic, and perfectly adaptable to the modern world. Possible drawback? Lots of Poison Ivy jokes.

No kidding.

I also looked it up in an online utility called What's in YOUR name?, and it said the following on the subject:

Your name of Ivy creates a passive, friendly, easy-going nature, but your desire for sociability and the pleasant things in life makes you too easily influenced through your associations. You are too generous and if appealed to will give all you have because you find it difficult to say "no" and mean it. You do not like to create tension or friction and will try various means to avoid such situations. You are very idealistic. You have imagination and many ideas but lack the ambition and drive necessary to accomplish your undertakings. Many times you dream about the things you desire in life, but when it comes down to putting forth the necessary effort and accomplishing your goals, you do not have the strength and initiative. This name does not allow you the system and order your life requires to run in a smooth, efficient way, and if possible you will avoid having to make decisions because you feel much more secure when you can lean on others. Many times you make promises you do not keep, although your intentions are always good. Any weakness in your health would cause you to suffer through either kidney trouble, female problems, or varicose veins. Due to a sensitivity in your nervous system, you could experience nervous disorders.

I'm not sure what's up with the assignment of physical problems based on a NAME, but I suppose that's their business.

Incidentally, my given first name is Julie, which is cited in The Last Word on First Names as a name that does not have "contemporary appeal," and should be pushed aside for the more elegant "Julia." In Beyond Jennifer and Jason it's a "high energy name" (ain't it the truth); a "no-frills name"; and a name from the 1950s. Yay. What's in YOUR name? says this:

Your name of Julie indicates qualities of a leader and organizer but a difficulty in concentrating and systematizing your efforts interferes with achieving your goals. You desire a good standard of living and the best quality in all your material possessions. You have a friendly nature, well-liked by others for your sense of humour and pleasant personality and you love parties and socializing in general. You could be musically or artistically inclined and may often be the "life" of the party and would enjoy finding expression in the entertainment field. You have a pleasure-loving nature, and although you have an ability to meet and mix with people on all levels, you tend to become involved in awkward emotional situations to your detriment. Deriving pleasure from giving to others, you enjoy spending money on them, but tend to be a spendthrift, and not build up a reserve for emergencies. You have a good appetite, and appreciate the best and richest foods. For this reason, you could possibly suffer with an over-heated bloodstream, which in turn affects the skin, causing rashes and eczema.

Much further from the mark on this one--I'm not much of a leader, I'm not that into my material possessions, and I'm not a big partygoer or socializer, though I am into the arts. Anyway, while we're mucking about in this goofy stuff, why not look at my middle name?

Sondra is my middle name, spelled with an O so that people wouldn't mistake it for "sand-ra." According to Linda Rosenkrantz and Pamela Redmond Satran, Sondra is in fashion limbo and is a "feminine name," and not much else. The What's in YOUR name? utility has this:

Your name of Sondra has created a deep, sensitive, refined nature with an intelligent mind. As you are particularly clever along business lines, and have mathematical ability and a keen appreciation of material values, you are inclined towards the business world. You would do well in a managerial position, as you have executive ability and a poised manner able to take charge and see that procedures are followed. You appreciate the finer things of life and look for quality in your material possessions. Your sensitivity and rather reserved manner make it very difficult for people really to know you. It is by actions rather than words that you show your regard for others. Your reticence has caused you to suffer aloneness and to live much within your own thoughts. You love to read, and are touched very deeply by the beauties of nature. Physically you suffer through tension in the generative organs which could cause female disorders. There is also an over-sensitivity in the heart, lungs, and bronchial organs which could lead to related health weaknesses.

Strange. Anyway, that is all I've got on the subject of MY name . . . it's certainly enough, in my opinion! If you are interested in names and would like to do some more research on your own, please visit the following connections:



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