Pretty much since I was in grade school, my nickname has been smiLee, and I gave that name to myself, (a fact that I’d like to re-approach another day, since I’m not sure if a nickname is real if it is self-assigned).
I distinctly remember the day that I decided it would be so.
I was in kindergarten, and I was playing with some small, coloured, wooden blooks. The play-station next to me was the BIG plastic blocks, where you could create structures that were taller than your head. I don’t remember who I was playing with, but we were talking about a girl in our class, let’s call her… Jane. My classmate commented on how Jane was ALWAYS smiling. I remember thinking how cool that was, and how I wished I could be like Jane [this is the moment of nickname decide-age]. Another classmate overheard us and decided that he knew how he would make Jane not smile, and he pushed the structure over onto her. Jane cried. It was terrible. Jane was still a very smiley girl after that day, but there was a subtle fade in the brightness of her smile; something about the determination of someone else to make her not smile in that one instance actually changed her whole way of being. I will never forgive that classmate for pushing those blocks onto Jane, but I will always remember her whenever I use that nickname or when I feel more smiley and optimistic than others would expect.
This video, which is GREAT and AMAZING [and 16min long, so make sure you have time] just reminded me of Jane. I hope she’s out there somewhere, still validating.