Ever arrive at a point where you think that you know too many people? I have, over the decades, compartmentalized my life. I have spent a lot of time feeling expectations of me that may or may not have been there in actuality. At some point, not enough of my time is my time. Transitions have not gone smoothly.
For 15+ years I worked corporate jobs. That was uncomfortable enough that I used my full name elsewhere, but used a nickname with everyone I knew in a work context. I do still know people from those 15 years, but not many. (I did later meet up with one of those people, years after I/we left corporate, and we married.)
While I enjoy people, I have a driving need for solitude and focused time. Otherwise there is too much noise. I feel pulled. In various directions. From the outside. And I start pulling away, out of sight.
I think that’s what it is about choosing my own name/nickname. It’s like circling the wagons. I think it’s about staying put and making the changes in situ. Becoming someone else (revealing myself as who I am) by altering my environment, at least in my perception, without disappearing, this time. It’s about deciding to be me and being me and asserting myself.
Now that I have retired from freelance and other work, now that I am involved in what needs doing and what I should be doing, I am, I think, attempting to be assertive (without annoying, inconveniencing, offending or unduly entertaining) enough to stake out my/our own territory.
Names are important in that they have associations in other people’s minds with a specific person/personality type who will look, act, accede, be persuaded or manipulated in specific, predictable ways.
Changing nicknames is part of changing those patterns. And I have done this before and it’s been effective. When I was a little kid, I had an invisible friend with whom I was someone else, with a name no one else knew, and I could be more myself, boldly, because somehow it separated me, not from consequences but from conventions, from patterns dictated by others. Being known by a different name at work separated my life into two separate streams. It’s no surprise, though, that being two different people wasn’t healthy. It accomplished what I needed, it was effective, but it is not good to try being two people simultaneously.
It quits being a productive defense mechanism after a while. And 30 years of freelance work…burnt out, trying to do too much for people in totally not enough time, with one’s time always being someone else’s time. The need of the other—the client, the family, the church, the volunteer work, &c.—always takes precedence over one’s own needs.
Naming is an important act. Names influence the one who is named and the people who relate to him or her. A name is a reminder. A reminder to not just go with the flow, but to let go of the need to seek approval to live in the manner and direction in which one is called to grow.
Sort of like baptism. Or confirmation. Receiving or establishing a new name or transformative identification/identity.