(Los Angeles, CA, USA)
My real name is Anneke. Look at that now. Unless you are related to a person with that name (or, gosh help you, have it yourself) you probably will have no idea how to spell it if heard, or pronounce it if read. Here's a conversation between me and the mailman who had come to deliver a package:
Mailman: "Package for Aneek- Aneekee -- "
Me *sighing*: "That's me."
Mailman *straying further from correct pronunciation by the second*: "No, you're Annika, this package is for Ayneek."
Me: "Yeah, my name is Anneke. Pronounced Annika."
Mailman *enlightened*: "Oh! I see! Here's your package."
And so the long day would wear on.
When I was ten, fed up with the inevitable "Wait... HOW do you spell that again?" that invariably accompanied my name, I decided to go by Kiki, for simplicity's sake. That was 6 months ago, and by now, most of my friends have forgotten my real name. I just posted this to say that no matter how odious your real name may seem, nicknames can save your life. :)