Heh, me again.
No, not stalking but the subject of names is always of interest to me.
You see, my legal change to Abigail Imogen Drake was not my first rodeo.
I was born Christopher John Dempsey. It never fit. Even decades before I reconciled myself to being trans it didn’t fit. At 11 I was emphatically Chris. To everyone. With the very notable exception of my immediate family, my parents and my sister, all of whom considered their ‘right’ to use my full name superceded any discomfort I expressed at its use.
At 36 I called time on my relationship with my family, telling them to never contact me again. I toyed with the idea of a change of name then. As a way of distancing myself from people who have only ever been toxic to me.
It took another 8 years however.
The idea had slipped in and out of my mind during that time but I’d never been able to figure what would replace what I had.
Then I pulled the trigger. My only staunch stipulation was that I retain my initials since my wife and I had both designed monograms that features our combined initials.
Chris Drake I became. I liked the economy of it. 6 syllables down to 2, 21 letters down to 10 (an irony then that my name now is even more polysyllabic than ever). I liked the boldness, the simplicity of it.
I was another 5 years before I discovered I’d actually stored away that name from a little known sci-fi show from 22 years prior. (Invasion: Earth to be precise). Funny how these things work. I wouldn’t mind but I really don’t care for the Chris Drake character in that show.
I sympathise with all that you wrote.
Even five years on there are some significant aspects of my life and identity that are governed by that lamented given name, not my chosen name. And certainly not the name that suits me best - my current one.
I find the process of choosing a new name fascinating. There are those who simply masculinise or feminine their existing name. Those who name themselves for a revered icon of screen, stage, or song, or else a beloved relative. Characters from beloved books or games feature heavily in the choices of some. And for some it’s entirely arbitrary.
For some of us it’s an iterative process. For some an evolution. And for some it’s a one and done affair.
I fall into both latter categories for my own choices. I became Abbie Drake on a whim. And it stuck. Fast. I’ve never had even the remotest inkling of changing it.
I had decided beforehand that I didn’t want a female name that was a feminisation of any masculine name, nor one whose diminutive was in any way masculine. So Samantha and Charlotte were out. But beyond that stipulation I made no demands on myself.
I liked how steampunk Abigail Drake sounded. Even more so, when I latterly added the ‘Imogen’.
But one of the things I like best about my name is there are 5 puns, in-jokes, hidden meanings that are apparent only to myself and a select few.
There’s power in names, not to be underestimated. My original change to Chris Drake caused me to introspect at length on who I was. What I stood for. I learned a lot and I quickly came to understand that I was always far more Chris Drake than I was ever Christopher John Dempsey. To the extent that after an abortive attempt at reconciliation with my estranged family I was able to tell them, and myself, that I’m not a Dempsey, I’m a Drake. There’s a qualitative difference that speaks to my values as a person.
And now I take that self-definition a step further and I can see Chris Drake as merely being Abbie-Lite. This is the truest to who I am I could ever hope to be.
Oakley Rae Phoenix is a very fine name.
Define it. Own it. Wear it with pride.