For a good stretch of time - from my mid-teens to my late twenties - I looked a lot younger than I was. I didn't mind it much then, and I'd love it if it were the case now (it's not). But when I decided to become a teacher soon after I graduated from college, I felt like I needed to appear older than my looks suggested both for the sake of establishing a position of authority with my students and for the sake of gaining the respect of students' parents and of other teachers. I once had a parent tell me that she mistook me for a student at the school before she knew I was on the staff (I taught at an elementary school that only went up to sixth grade!). Part of my attempt to come across as older than my appearance indicated included going by the name Susan instead of Suzy. Susan sounds so much more mature than silly Suzy, right?
I taught for close to nine years, so I had some serious time to settle into being called Susan. I ended up going by Susan in other professional situations, too, like when I applied for jobs when we moved to Portland and when I was dealing with all things related to sulu-design. It just sorta stuck. But even though Susan is my birth name and lots of people have called me Susan for 15 years now, it's definitely a lot less me than Suzy is. I don't know, though, if I can ask people who have called me one name for so long to start calling me another. It feels very forced and awkward. Maybe I shouldn't ask anyone to change what they call me, but just go by Suzy from here on out.
What do you think? Is it weird to be known by two similar but different names? Is it strange to ask people who've called you by your birth name for years to start calling you by your nickname? Are any of you in the same boat?
And now that I've asked what's in a name, how about what's in a face? Or, in this case (thanks, Barry) half of a photo-taking face...