My mom decided she would call me Mimi before I was even born. She didn’t much care what my official name was, but the nickname was set, and to this day my family called me Mimi. In Peru I went by my nickname, even at school, but in Portugal I was made fun of for it and I became embarrassed. I started going by Isabel, and didn’t really look back.
To my family I will always be Mimi. If they call me Isabel I struggle to register the name as my own, or I think something is wrong. It sounds alien to me, which is fascinating because from most anyone else it’s what I respond to. In my own head I am Mimi, but I attribute it with me at eight or nine years old. It’s someone I want to protect and show that everything turns out okay. Isabel goes through life fulfilling responsibilities, not necessarily having fun while doing so--I’ve made it a formal thing, that could be argued protects me from expressing the Mimi parts of me that got hidden when I was made fun of for it.
But Mimi as a name for my parents came from the multiple scares they went through through my birth. When my mom found out she was pregnant she did so because she had a broken rib, when they did an ultrasound on my heart I had a polyp that no one could explain, and close to the day I was born the doctors told my mom she had lost me. My mom called me a miracle, or milagro in Spanish, which makes me feel arrogant to relay, but it was true for her and my dad and all that they went through with me.