Dec 12, 2008
Who am I now?
I've shared that I began to play with my name as early as high school. Hated my birthname and had no middle name. At first I changed the "y" at the end of my nickname to an "i". When I went into the Air Force at age 19, everyone called each other by last names. I was automatically called a shortened version of my last name and became the same nickname my father had since he was 19....only with an "i" at the end. I liked it because I no longer was tied to my birthname.
I legalized my Air Force nickname when I married in 1980. I was a feminized version of a male name from 1972 until about 1997 when memories surfaced. The second legal name change was to get rid of the association to my father but chose another feminized male name. I also gave myself a neutral middle name that was actually a letter spelled out. Jaye.
By the time I was ready to graduate with my M.A., my marriage was long over although we were not divorced. I wanted a professional name that was entirely my own--not a husband's or a father's. Mine. The original plan was to keep the same feminized male name plus Jaye plus my new last name which I was so thrilled about for reasons difficult to explain. Just prior to filing the papers, I had an epiphany (internal message) that my middle name was to be Grace. I thought about it for several days and came to love my soon to be middle name. It was the first fully feminine name of my own choosing. I never related to the external birth name. She was the hurt little girl. Her name from the inside was Janie. I had no connection whatsoever especially since I was called other names in my world of abuse.
I've been very happy with my completely new name since 2003. However, since Jane emerged in September to do the blogs and became a permanent part of my external being, I've became more connected to Grace than my first name. Now that the integration is complete, the internal message is all the alters who integrated into the gender confused name merged with my reunited core who was Grace. We became Grace. The Divine Feminine. Grace was also chosen as the healed entity with no trauma ties to the name, while Janie and Jane were part of that cruel world.
Does the identity confusion ever end? I now feel totally disconnected from the first name I've been known by in the real world since 2000. It's empty. I really don't want to do a legal name change. My online world knows me as Grace. My SO's family has a nickname for me that I love and is also feminine and a main name in my internal world. I'm not going to ask those who know me by my first name to stop calling me that. I know what a hardship that is. But I've already begun asking the banks to issue credit cards as Grace so I can sign that name.
I'm not sure it's a compulsion. I also wouldn't call it a disorder (identity disorder). To me it's identity confusion or identity shifting. I was a culmination of many alters with many names. I was led to the name that would be my final name (Grace) before I would ever understand it's true meaning. Changing names as a symptom of DID makes sense since, over the course of life, a new alter may take over in the outside world one or more times. But it's not disorderly. It's a very orderly system. It may seem odd. But as a matter of coping from the level of trauma that created so many identities, it makes perfect sense.
Grace. The meaning is beautiful. Healing into that name has been an incredible journey. I know there is more to come, but it is more about adjusting to sharing my life as an alter now combined with the mind of the child originally born into a cruel world. Maybe Grace will be my literally "saving" Grace to help me achieve my goals to tell the world about the evil that lurks under our noses. Since understanding what happened to me as a result of DID, my goal has been for my core to have her life back. It's lovely that she came out with similar goals to my life as a psychotherapist.
The days of gender confused parts of me is over. All are settled. All are safe. We have achieved our oneness with the universe.
Photo: I used to joke that this was me in the Air Force. I'm two years old at the airport on the way to Germany. My father put his military hat on me. It's a good representation of my internal identity matching my external garb.