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.
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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