Soap Box

What's in a Name??

So I have been getting a lot of chatter as of late. A lot of people have wanted to know whats going on with this new name business. Which, believe me, I know needs an explanation. I am not that dense. But I want to lay some ground rules a head of time. I am not in the mood for anyone to tell me that I am reading too much into my name. Nor would I like to hear about how pretty of a name Alexandra is or how hard it is going to be for you to adjust. I know everyone is allowed to have their own opinions. I get that. But, I've heard it all before. This isn't the first time I have made a major shift in my identity. Or rather, it's not the first time I have changed my name. It will be the last though.

All stories should start with a beginning. Where is a good place to start for this story? Hmm. Well, my name of birth, if you haven't heard it by now, is Kristofer Tracey Stevens. When I was first ready to come out as trans was when I was at NYIT. I chose the name Kimberly for one reason. It started with K and I wanted to keep my initials. But it wasn't like anyone acknowledged the name change. Friends from high school just shrugged it off, friends at NYIT just made it into a joke, and the friends that mattered didn't think the name fit. When I left NYIT I  learned that being trans was going to be an uphill battle.

By the time I got to NCC, I had settled on a new name, Alexandra. The process was simple. I picked about 4 or 5 names and then asked a bunch of really close friends which one they liked the most. Almost all the names were gender ambiguous and had a meaning I liked. Alexandra means “protector of all people.” It was something I aspired to be. Something I wanted to use my life and writing to do. It was met with mild success. The friends that mattered liked it and shortened it to Lexie, the new found friends at NCC called me Alex for short. Everything seemed to be going wonderfully. I mean at the time I didn't care about pronoun slips.

When I got to UA I realized I could actually spread my trans wings. I could start promoting myself as female. I had decided to put my foot down on pronoun slip ups. There seemed to be no worries for me except for the ones I created for myself. But deep down inside, I knew something was wrong. I couldn't place my finger on it. I didn't know what to call it. It was there though.

A pattern had started to become clear and I drew my own conclusion from it. Most of the people who called me Alex were the people who got the pronoun thing all wrong. Furthermore, more males than females called me Alex. These guys, even after being reminded, still messed up the pronouns. The conclusion was that people who called me Alex did so because the saw me as male. Which was bothersome. This was true even if I was in a skirt or dress or even when wearing my breast forms. There was no change in the answer to the equation. It was starting to get to me.

This was part of a greater problem though. It is a rather simple question. What does it mean to be a girl? It's what my therapist asks me from time to time. My answer was always “being a girl means being bubbly, caring, friendly to everyone, and always ready to be helpful.” You know, sort of like those preppy girls that were on sitcoms when we were kids. That was always my answer and my therapist's response was “can't a boy be like that?” A boy could be like that, but it wasn't expected. It was a prerequisite. I was answering with a stereotype and I knew it. But I didn't want to face that reality because then that would suggest maybe I wasn't trans. Maybe I was looking for a way to be something that I thought boys couldn't be. That couldn't be right.

Spawning from my belief of what made a girl real, I had developed a complex that was cemented by a belief my parents had begun to impart into me. If wasn't bubbly and nice and friendly and always there for everyone no one would like me. I'd be all alone. So, I dedicated myself to the social butterfly persona that you are all accustomed to. Deep down though, it was driving me mad. I felt so isolated because I was too busy trying to get to know everyone that I felt I had no real friends. There was a feeling that all the support and advice and love I was putting out to the world was something I wasn't receiving in kind. This deeply bothered me. I believe in karma and was wondering when I was going to get my fair share. But my belief that a girl should always be bubbly, out going, and caring coupled with the idea that I had picked my name to be a protector made me just shoulder it all. Smile through the pain as you will.

That's the part everyone gets stuck on. Why I am I putting so much emphasis on my name meaning? Why can't Alexandra just mean Alexandra? I can answer that only as simply as simply as people state the question. I wouldn't have ever picked Alexandra if it hadn't had its meaning. To me, your name should mean something. It should have a purpose. I've believed this ever since I came up with my first pen name. It is the main reason I resent my name of birth. I am not a “bearer of Christ.”

But back the situation at hand. I am rebooting myself. Personality, appearance, goals, etc. I am want to live myself and try being a little more selfish in life. I want a better quality of life and I want to stop second guessing myself. Part of that reboot, yes, is changing my name. Amanda was chosen for a few reasons. I like my new initials. It can't be made masculine. And the whole joke that people could make call me “A man duh” is childish. If people want to make that joke, they aren't worth your or my time. And it means “deserving to be loved.” I am going to get passed what my parents said. It doesn't matter that I am trans, I am not a faggot. I do deserve to be loved just like everyone else.