I apologize that I haven’t posted in awhile. I have gotten sick, applied for a promotion, gone to a few dentist and doctor appointments, and am thoroughly exhausted. My “mandatory vacation time” is now not mandatory, now that I’m being called in for the next two days. Oh joy…
I was intending to do my next post wrapping up pronouns, but have decided to instead start a new topic. Yay! I’ll try not to make things too confusing as I continue to post. I mean, if I confuse myself how is anyone else supposed to be able to read this, right?
New topic: Names
The use of a name is very important. Growing up we categorize things, give them identifications to communicate better and know when being spoken too. They have a significant amount of power behind them. You know who is listening to you, who is your friend based off of who knows your name and pronounces it correctly. Names also bring up a ton of imagery, based off of others known by the same name, thus not a lot of people kids their girls Jezebel as they do Mary or Ruth. Shakespeare mentions it too in Romeo and Juliet during the balcony scene in Act II, scene II:
” ’Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself though, not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O! be some other name:
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;”
As a gender non conforming individual, I at first thought name wasn’t going to be as important to me. I mean, I wasn’t trans and not identifying as the other end of the binary. So a change in prefered name wasn’t really going to need to happen. Wrong. For me, name was just and important as pronouns, and having my given name be very female, I struggled. So, with my close friends and family I asked for a different name to be used. One that wasn’t very anglo-saxon; male in German and female in Japanese. I chose it because as a writer, I connected with my character with the name I had chosen and felt it was a better fit.
And it changed everything.
With that one change, I could tell people saw me as more androgynous (what I prefer) and some even struggled to figure out which binary pronouns I’d prefer. I was given a clean slate that I alone could modify and change to fit who I was. No frills or puppy dog tails expected. Soon the use of that name spread into every day life outside my personal life. I now use it as my prefered name at, one, of my jobs.
The inconsistency of me telling others is definitely showing. I get easier agitated at the job where I use my legal name, job hunting is difficult, and it’s almost like a shock every time someone uses it. It hurts, but I don’t tell the others at my second job because i’m spread between so many different people that asking them to change names would make it difficult for them in the long run too. Part of me is just kind of okay with the use of my old name at one place because I can expect it. It’s consistent. I don’t have to worry about the forgetting and apologizing like with pronouns. But then they really don’t get to know me as me. It’s a facade.
There are some trans individuals who have such a negative connotation to their previous name that they call it their “dead” name. Calling others by their dead name is a big insult for many reasons that vary per person. For me, I’m not sure if my legal name is what I would call my “dead” name. Because it’s not fully dead. Like it’s dead to me in the fact I don’t identify with it. It’s like a old tattoo, cover it up and only show it if necessary.
I’m not sure on how to handle the situation. From now on, with each new job I will mention my prefered name and pronouns (that is for sure), but dealing with changing a name legally is a big step. Especially since family have a big connection with it. Parents give you your given name. There is all this expectation. The way they see you would change when you insist on a nickname or prefered name. But changing the legal name could be seen as an insult. But in the end, it is my life right?
For now, I’ll poke at my old name like an animal just hit by a car. Is it dead? Is it alive? I want it to be dead, but how to handle it if it’s alive…But in the end…
that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;