So… I’m changing my name. Legally, and all that. I’ve been keeping it pretty quiet, because I have some suspicions as to how this news will land with my family, and I don’t want to mistakenly give them the impression that I’m open to their input on this decision. I filed my paperwork today, and my hearing is Friday. Then I’ll announce the good news.
There are a lot of reasons I’m doing this, and some of them feel like… a rejection of some younger form of myself. It feels as if the girl who wore that name has to die in order for me to be rid of it.
But that’s bullshit, because here’s the thing – that name isn’t attached to any part of me that I recognize. When I hear that name, it doesn’t summon a person, a coherent response, a feeling of excitement or enthusiasm or even curiosity. That name is attached to events, and to a series of behaviors – a fear and submission response. That name makes me eight years old again, and waiting, almost hoping for the blow. My goddamn name triggers me.
So we’re changing it. As of Friday, I will be Gentle in the flesh as well as in your heart. Thank you for the opportunity to road-test it a bit over these last few months.
Do I truly leave you?
Will you stay here?
Must one of me die for me to be free?
To drag my name to the bottom of the sea
an atlas stone shackled to something dear.
The child was the first to lift the stone.
The caryatid fell, crushed into line,
the first bloodstain that boulder left behind.
It’s only gotten heavier as we’ve grown.
There’s not a one of me that wears that name.
I will not hang this stone around my throat.
I will not march my people off this boat.
I will no longer pretend I’m the same.
If you never believed a thing I wrote,
there never was a girl named Rhain.