Thursday, December 23, 2010

Goddammit Bastian, Just Give the Empress a New Name.

Prompt 23 – New Name

Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?

(Author: Becca Wilcott)

I wouldn't. I love my name.

I just wish that people understood me when I said it.

My name makes total sense, once you know that it's a contraction, an abbreviation of my full name. (Clearly, we all know what a contraction is, I can't seem to help but be condescending today.) But when I try to introduce myself at a crowded bar, at a loud show, it's just not worth it. "Marsha? Misha? Chris?" Ugggh. So I start with my given name about 80% of the time, and pray that if we end up being friends, you'll catch on (not hard, since it's how I refer to myself in conversation) that I much prefer the abbreviated version to the full version.

M'ris is something I own. Something I created, something that's me. The version of me that exists in my head. She's cooler, smarter, funnier, more self confident, awesomer in every possible way. She probably has superpowers. She can totally kick your ass, intellectually, at least, and she's not afraid to do it. Introducing myself as such helps me manifest those things, helps me believe that she and I are the same person, that I'm actually as awesome as I'd like to think that I am.

There are absolutely people who never figure that out, who call me by my full name every time we interact. The longer it goes on, the more irritating it gets. Usually, though, it's a pretty good indicator that this person and I probably aren't meant to be very good friends. (In light of recent events, I should really pay more attention to that one in the future. If someone has been hanging out with me 24/7 for several weeks, and still doesn't get it, I should probably just abandon ship - they're never gonna.) I guess I could be up front about it, introduce myself as such 100% of the time - but the other part of it is that my given name is also a shield. It distances me from people I either don't know that well (and therefore don't trust, not with my name and certainly not with me), or people that I can't be close to (usually professional relationships - bosses, teachers, etc.)

It even lends itself to other situations. When I play Rock Paper Scissors, my stage name is Mr. Is. Which has turned out to be awesome, and Mr. Is is a cheerful curmudgeon who can't stop smiling. The highlight of that name was actually my dad: When he came out to a match 2 summers ago, he played under Mr. Isn't. I couldn't be prouder.

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