Monday, July 19, 2010

What's in a name?

I have hesitated to open up about this because one one hand it seems to be a somewhat superfluous layer of complication to add to what is an already over-dramatic process (transition). It seems to me there's a limit to how much even your supporters will put up with.

On the other hand, even though most people never change their given name, if you do, it behooves you to be absolutely comfortable with the one you choose. More and more lately, iI'm mourning not going with my first choice and reconsidering whether or not to rectify that before the day comes - down the road a ways but still - when I try to change it legally.

Before I go on, let me give you a bit of background on how I got to the one I chose and some general thoughts on name selection for people in my position.

To me, one of the chief things to avoid in picking a name is anachronisms. So the first thing I did was look at baby-name lists from the early 60's to see what the common names were in those days. to me, one thing that invites skepticism is if NO ONE your age is named "Tiffany" except you. Also, you want to avoid "stripper names" or drag queen names or anything that has an unintended reading (Richard Cox, for instance, if you get what I mean). also, personally, I've never been a fan of alliteration in names (i.e. Lois Lane).

So with all that in mind, I made a list of names I liked, and removed all the names that were associated with people close to me, just to avoid the awkwardness of sharing a name with a friend who might be uncomfortable with that, and then picked from what was left.

What I came up with was Laura Elizabeth. that middle name is non-negotible, I love everything about it and it has like 4 or 5 short forms I love too (I actually strongly considered using "Beth" as my "everyday name"). But one of the names I eliminated is actually perhaps my all time favorite girl name. It is a name that a first cousin of mine had not as a given name but as a nickname - it's also the name of the first girl I had a crush on in elementary school but that's not relevant. I removed it because of my cousin but honestly, we are so distant geographically now that it's not really going to matter except maybe at the occasional funeral.

Then there's this - one thing I didn't consider at all when choosing Laura is that I never write in cursive AT ALL anymore except to sign something. it turns out to be a lot harder to learn, at my age, to properly sign a name you are unfamiliar with than I would have ever guessed. The other name I have in mind is not so difficult. There's also the matter of the voice. It seems in retrospect that picking a name that doesn't invite the lower-sounds into your voice when you speak it is helpful and that "ur" sequence does that.

So, here I am, along with all my other drama I'm debating myself furiously whether it's better to resign myself to my original choice or go ahead and try to get it right before I lock it in. Since the opinion at home is that I should naver change it, or anything else, there's not really any outlet to discuss it so I turn to the few folks who pay attention to my online rambling.

What do you think? Oh, and the name in question is Tammy, by the way, if you have an opinion on that.


  1. I can pretend you named yourself after me (Tamar)! ;)

    Use the name that makes you happiest..after all this time, for god's sake don't just *settle* for anything.

    And must stop living your life based on the dictates of someone who wants to control you. It won't help her and it sure as heck won't help you. She needs to learn to accept the truth and she can't and *won't* as long as you give in to her demands. If you are a woman, pretending to be a man is just cruel and eventually you may end up hating her for making you be that person again.

    So...if you love the name Tammy. You get one life and you are not getting younger...every wasted moment you can not get back. Every moment playing this hurtful game is one less where your life is yours.

  2. oh honey don't misunderstand, this bit of indecision has nothing to do with the drama at home(other than my passing remark about having enough drama) - all I was saying was that since she doesn't want it changed at all, I can't really take her thought on which one is better into consideration.

    I'm trying not to give anyone the impression that she's being unfair to me here - I don't think that is true. with all due respect to your advice.

    The easy way out would be to just leave without being sure I've done everything I could to give it a fair chance. I fully admit there's an obvious divide between what I wish would happen (a "girlfriends" relationship - not in the lesbian sense) and what is likely to happen (that she will never be able to adjust) and perhaps I'm overcompensating, but I'll sleep better at night if I know she had a fair chance to come to terms.

    If I've waited almost 40 years to do this, i can afford to give her six months or so to see that I am not too callous about it.

    If that, in someone else's opinion, makes me more generous than she's being - I can live with that, it's better than the reverse.

    The worst that can happen is that I die suddenly in a car wreck or something before the first of the year and the dream goes unrealized. But even then, I'd be at peace.

    I prefer no ill-will either way. Maybe that makes me a wuss but I am what I am.

  3. Mm, I prefer Laura to Tammy, but follow your heart: don't even consider what anybody else thinks.

  4. Previous comment deleted because it was inadvertently done through the account associated with my baseball blog - which is still written under my former identity which I prefer to keep at arms length from my real identity.