Monday, June 8, 2009

what's in a name?

i was thinking about my name tonight. A while ago I adopted a nickname, a name used for projects, performances and art. which has now become a full time, and sometimes name.

it is strange the attachments we have to names. names we were given, names we chose, nicknames, names that mean nothing, names that we know longer identify with.
when i say my birth name it feels like a strangers name. not my own. the words and tone doesn't sound right. it doesn't flow off and around my tongue. my last name is my fathers. something that fills me with shame, anger and pain. a lagging reminder of days gone by. i feel no ownership over my birth name, it is something alien to me.

my chosen name. 6 syllables of sound. three in each. easier to say in Japanese tongue. for some reason,easier for my mouth to round out those sounds.

it strange though how i never imagined how other people might be attached to my birth name more than me. a name they have called to me a million billion times. variations of the name shortened and stretched as intimacies and endearments change and grow.
loz, lozzy, lolly, lollipop, lull, L, lozbot (3000), lozenge, lozcunt, lozdoggg, lozbaby.
i have a friend of mine that has been introducing me to new people as okapi for awhile now but still calls me up and quietly, hesitantly calls out my birth name when i answer.
is your memory of me tied to a name?
but i dont want to take that from people. to say hey. you cannot call me that anymore. but sometimes i really need that acceptance of the shift that has happened within me. which i have marked by a name change.
i think about myself, my own life, and the many friends of mine that have changed at the very least their names, often with a transitioning of gender. i think about how that felt for me. when someone would pull me aside and said, hey this is my new name, and this is the pronoun i am going by now. the process of adjustment. thinking in your head before speaking until it became natural and familiar. feeling a sense of love and hope at having been friends with someone long enough to see them grow, change and transform into more and more beautiful selves.

i know a friend of mine that never used to correct people when they got her name wrong. she'd just let them call her whatever they wanted. i thought it strange at the time. she said it didn't really matter, it is just a name and doesn't really mean anything anyway. and sometimes i would do the same thing when people misheard me and would start calling me the wrong name. id let them, just to see what it would feel like to be called by another name. and how that may change how i felt about who i was...

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