By Any Other Name

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By Any Other Name

By Melanie E.


What's in a name? That's the question I ask myself so often. Is someone defined by their name, or do they, through their actions and personality, define what their name means to the world?

I have several names.

There's the name I was given when I was born. It's the name on all my documents, and the name on my badge at work. It's a name that to many people means ME, or at the very least their idea of who I am.

There's the names I use online, crafted by me to convey a particular message or theme. Names for gaming, names for talking, names for sharing, names for laughing at. They all have a meaning, and they all have a persona that I attach to them, a way of acting, a way of seeming to think that defines who the person the name belongs to is.

Then there's the name I've given myself, at least sort of. It's the name I choose for who I am. It's the name that, to me, most accurately defines who the person behind all the other names is, and is, in its essence, a declaration of who I feel I should be, I COULD be, given the chance.

So, what's in a name? Am I a product of the names I've used, or are the names, even those I had no choice in, only as important as I let them be in defining me? If I change my name, if I choose to identify as someone else, does that truly change who I am, or is it all just a placebo effect, and I'm really just lying to myself?

I choose to believe that a name is what you make of it.

There's the name I was given when I was born. It's not a name I care for, it's not a name that I feel describes me... but it's a name that others know, and even have affection for. For some people, if that name were to change that love would be gone, but for many others -- the most important ones -- their love is for the person behind the name, not the name itself. It does not define me in their eyes.

There's the names I use online, crafted by me for specific purposes. These are the names that I use for characters, for personas intended to accomplish goals, but they are all simply aspects of who I am as a more complete whole. Though I may do things differently depending on the name, the thought process is the same always, and the person behind the words and on the end of the keyboard is always the same. These do not define me in my eyes.

Then there's the name I've given myself, at least sort of. What's important though, is that it's the name I've decided is representative of who I am, in my heart, in my head, in my soul. It's a name I like, a name that makes me feel good, a name that holds a special place for me in all the things it says about me and my future. Yet, it still does not define me.

What defines me, is me, and me is, in truth, undefinable. I am more than the words I share, more than the things I say, more than what I do. These are the things others see or hear, but they are not what makes me truly ME, merely pale reflections and aftershocks from the mind and spirit behind it all. That which makes me *me* cannot be contained by petty words or letters, because I am more than that.

Every one of us is more than that.

You are more than that.

A name does not define us, any more than a body does or a hair color or anything else. We are who we are not because of what the world makes of us, but because of what we make of ourselves.

I am me. Nothing more, nothing less. And I... we... you... have beauty no matter what words are used to describe us, nor how society defines us.

Because the best person you can be is the only person you can be. Yourself.


Melanie E.

NOTES: This was partially inspired by, of all things, a YouTube Red ad that I saw earlier tonight for a film on the service called, if I recall, I Am Gigi Gorgeous. It's a film about a trans YouTube star, and her journey from how she was born to who she is now.

It made me incredibly jealous.

There's a reason I don't follow a lot of TG "success story" media and the like, and it's because it always leaves me feeling empty inside, like I've wasted who I could be or who I am. Nevertheless, after a while I usually recover, and it's always by thinking through a line of thought not dissimilar from the sentiment above: that no matter what my name may be at the moment, no matter what my body may say, no matter how tough or unfair things may be, I am still who I define myself as, not what all those things try and define me as.

One day I will be able to BE me before the entire world. Until then, nothing they see or think can diminish the person inside, and I truly believe that that person is beautiful.

I truly believe that every single one of us, if we choose to embrace it, is.

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Names !

Thank you, we are who we are ,nicely told !


I understand you in so many

I understand you in so many ways. Not a shock, but someone carrying the name "efindumb" can understand the power of the words you say. I can never understand your inner pain but I know the feelings all too well.

I'm told STFU more times in a day than most people get told in a lifetime


You're right, they don't define. A name is a semiotic flag, a signpost pointing at the bearer saying, "Hither be something Amazing!" A name doesn't define its subject. Rather the subject defines its name. Without the subject, the name is gestures with mouth, tongue, throat, lungs, or hands, meaningless. Empty signal. Noise.


Successor to the LToC
Formerly known as "momonoimoto"

Names, My Baby's Got Me Locked Up In Names

Long ago, when you had to go through dial-up to get to chat rooms on long forgotten internet services like CompuServe, I took the name Jill I M in homage to Dr. Seuss. During one of my purges I lost the availability of that name and had to settle for Jill M I. After writing a number of stories under that name and existing online as Jill M I for a number of years I wrote Hair Soup and found out that I'm really Angela Rasch. For a few months I thought she was just another one of my characters until I looked in a mirror . . . and there she was.

So I use two names . . . here. I use another name in RL, the one my parents gave me. But, my favorite name comes out of my grandchildrens' mouths (2 and 4). They call me Poppy.


Angela Rasch (Jill M I)

How about "mom"?

I got my name legally changed late last fall. (Following the by now well-travelled road of M2F transition -- I'm so unimaginative.) Allison now feels like me and <deadname> seems a lot like someone else.

But the name change that really warms my heart the most is the way my kids (ages 23 & 26) call me "Mom." (Or "Mom-two" if they need to disambiguate.) They may be bigger than me, but they still like it when I hug them or snuggle or rub their backs. (I'm working on getting David to put up with me brushing their hair. But it's down to the middle of their back, it really needs it!)

I think I've always been a mom in my heart, even if I didn't call my self that. I've always had this mother duck impulse to make sure everyone around me is okay. At support groups, I'm always looking to see if anyone is getting left out. And I can't wait to be a granny -- I love babies. There's something about holding this small person and feeling like you can make them feel safe and protected and cared about -- and happy (well, sometimes. Sometimes they're miserable and there's nothing you can do but be there for them.)

I love being a Mom(tm)


What, I wonder, IS a "TG success story"? I have seen very few to be honest.To me to reach your personal goal of becoming the gender you identify with replete of constant conservative insults and harrassments. To be able to die a natural death would be "successful" especially for those poor souls that have to put up with yankee social restrictions etc.

I am me, that is all any sane person can expect me to be. Only the insane want me to be like them. :)