By: Mad Rabbit
It is like the betrayal. Every time I open my mouth, I say, "my name is [blank]" because these are my elders and they've just asked me what is my name and my mother's here, and more importantly, my grandmother's here. And for the rest of the day and for the entirity of my trip when they ask for me, when they call for me, when they expect me to respond to this name, this old name of mine, I do. I do because I've trained myself to, because I am not out to them completely. They love me and I believe if I asked them to, they would in fact call me by the name I've chosen for myself. But I don't ask them to understand, to change. My parents are my biggest fans, my parents, in short, are amazing. But a name, a name is everything, and they won't call me that.
A while back I decided I liked the name I overheard myself say over the telephone as a pass code. I thought, "I like this." It's a family name, I don't want kids, I want to be called this, I decided. I began to use this name, later calculating all the ways my gender had been shaped and formed by the name I formerly went by. But that was later, first came the simple fact that I like like the name, that I got to decide, I chose and that at the time, for me, was everything. The transition was miraculously easy, for the most part. At the time, I was living in chicago and the community I surrounded myself with was familiar with the name changing process. So I felt affirmed and I was, without realizing it changed.
I studied psychoanalysis in college, a very specific branch. Lacan believed in the repetition of language, that words and names shape our world, and I take after this thought as my belief. A name is EVERYTHING. So at Thanksgiving, in a room full of people I love, that love me, I kept thinking, why the betrayal? Why not just say? What is so sacred and so coveted about keeping this name right now? Without moving forward and making the next step, am I not still myself if I go by something else?
Every time I realized that I wouldn't much longer be able to be a part of this family without outting what some, most of them, dont know about me, I would stop. I would think, "stop," I know better than to go there. To go there would mean to fight, to fight would mean to battle. The betrayal sometimes becomes the survival. And to survive means to live, and in this particular case I exist with two names, in two worlds that are so full of love for my being. I can't help but try to survive it. The love is there, in two worlds.