What’s In A Name?

I’ve been feeling so low lately. Even more than I have been feeling lately. I guess the isolation is really starting to get to me. I may be surrounded by so many people, but nobody knows what I’m thinking or feeling. I can’t tell anyone either. There have been a few times when I almost did but I chickened out. There are 2 people closest to me that I’d tell: my wife and my best friend. Problem is, by opening my mouth, I will lose everything and hurt a lot of people I care about. Yet I’m happy to take my own life? Well, I’d like to think there’s a difference. Right now, it’ll be a miracle if I’m still alive by the end of this year.

A huge change I’ve noticed is how I respond to my family. I’m finding myself distancing myself from them. We’re never in contact all the time anyway but when my mom or dad message me, I feel like I just don’t to know or talk to them. My answers have been really short or I can’t feel enthusiastic about talking to them. I can’t stop myself from feeling this way either. Knowing that this is something they will never understand has a lot to do with it. They’re so old fashioned. They don’t “get” this stuff as their world is a much simpler place. In a lot of ways, the same can be said of my sister and brother too. There’s a certain ignorance which stops them from fully understanding or taking things into consideration. For example, I’ve never used my full name. Yet my sister will refer to me or call me by my full name. Even when I had it legally changed to the name I’ve always gone by, and told her about the new official name, she still calls me by my full name. I find it a bit disrespectful and annoying. Ok, no. Really fucking annoying. I take the time to care about her and to remember stuff about her yet she can’t do the same for me? I’m not sure why I’m so surprised as she’s always been like this. Looking back, my family never really took the time to care about each other on a deeper level. It was always kept to a minimum. Like everyone’s afraid of feelings. Or just don’t have the time to care because life goes on. Something happened? You pick yourself up, acknowledge the mistake and then get on with it. Even when I was in therapy, this way of thinking was picked up on. It’s like we were all raised to switch difficult off emotions. In my case, through all the stuff that’s happened, I just switched everything off and stopped feeling. So yeh, if my own family can’t respect me enough to call me by my preferred or legal name, what chance have I got of them accepting me as I am today? Distance is better. I wouldn’t want to disappoint them again or give them anything to blame themselves over. Come to think of it, who do I blame for why I am this way? My upbringing? My DNA? the choices I made in my life? What?? What has done this to me?

The same applies for extended family too. My wife’s grandmother is one such person. Despite my name being in greetings cards that we’ve sent her, she still gets my name wrong. Even more insulting is that she doesn’t take the time to check or even ask. Instead, she just makes it up. On a couple of occasions it’s like she just randomly used the first 4 letters that came into her head. My first name doesn’t even have 4 letters!! It’s just fucking rude and ignorant. And yes, it really pisses me off. This is also the grandmother who has favourites and makes half-arsed efforts for the ones she doesn’t like. No, I really don’t want people like that in my life, who are just going to get me even more down than I already am. Let’s face it, I’m doing a pretty fucking good job of that myself. It hurts more when it’s the actions of people you love or care about. I know they don’t mean to get to me (although sometimes I do wonder about certain people) and I know I shouldn’t let it get to me…but put yourself in this situation for a moment. You’re struggling and mentally exhausted from trying to live through each minute of the day but, on top of that, you have to deal with crap from everybody else too. Sometimes helping people can be a distraction, I’ll admit that. But when you’re constantly having to mop up after people or take time out to fix things that they knew would break, it really drives you under even more. It makes you want to just withdraw from the world completely.

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
Romeo & Juliet (Act 2, Scene 2)

One of the main parts of a person’s identity is their name. It’s weird how something assigned to us from birth can be something so important. Do we grow to to fit our name? Or does our name grow with us? As much as we just get on with our lives and our name tags along for the ride, our names do sometimes run ahead and announce who we are before we get there. Like when you meet somebody and they say “oh, you don’t look like a [insert name here]” or something equally shit. It’s based on their own expectations. In reality, there’s no rule about how we are supposed to look or behave if we’re called one name or another. In a way, society plays a huge part in deciding what names we’re given. “You can’t call him that, it’s a boy’s/girl’s name!!” is probably something that crops up a lot when parents are trying to name their babies. But why can’t you just give a name because it’s a nice one? Why does gender have to come into it? Aside from the biological differences, we’re all born as blanks. Everything we know is taught by others. From the moment we’re born one generation passes on the “this is what society says a boy/girl must do” torch…it’s attitudes like this which become ingrained in us (and society), preventing acceptance of anything that is brave enough to be different. Since I officially shortened my first name, it’s a bit ambiguous. Which is probably a good thing. The thought of being defined by something I didn’t choose is the last thing I need when I’m already living in a body that I didn’t choose.

Featured image: via Google

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