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.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Names are an issue with me, too. I'm still dragging around an ex's last name even though I'm remarried. I guess I got tired of all the name confusion (it was my second divorce) and just decided I was too tired of it all to change anything else. Sometimes I dream of changing my name to a symbol like Prince did. If I did that, I figure no one would be able to call here and ask for me. :-)

You were such a cute little girl.


E.H.

Grace said...

With all my marriages and name changes, it's hard to trace me. lol. I look at that little girl and don't know who she is. The eyes are so empty in all my photos except the ones taken of me in 2004. I look soooo happy...finally.

Vague said...

i would *think* - i'm just postulating here - that most ...uh, singletons(?)... would at times feel disconnected somewhat from their legal birthname, because it speaks of a past or family heritage they maybe cannot totally relate to....

maybe... if you consider your 2003 name your *birth*name (and it sounds like it was a birth of sorts, as an individual away from unhealthy ties(to put it mildly)) ...and if you can choose to *honor* it as a name representing the place that youve come from, what youve come through, your heritage in a way, in the same way that *singletons* - from a more healthy, supposedly-normal background - may embrace their original legal name because it speaks of where theyre from, their heritage.....? does that make sense???

anyways, just a couple of thoughts... i frankly cant stand the original legal name, and think often of changing it... i just havent come up with anything we like or relate to yet.... just a couple of ideas for it, but nothing beyond...

...blessings...

Anonymous said...

Grace,

I just found your blog today...linking in a serendipitous way from Polyvore. I've been reading your posts and there are light bulbs going off all over the place...

I have a weird relationship with my name/s...recently found old homework and cards from childhood with several different variants..had a deliberate name change at 28..then felt that I had used up that name and have changed again this year. They're all variants on my birth name...(it's one of those names that lends itself to multiple nicknames)Sometimes I just sign emails with my initial, because I don't feel like anybody that day. Being called my birth name creates intense emotional pain/anger.

I have been struggling with not being able to go to bed until after 3 A.M.(lately closer to 5 or 6)..have always felt that I had internal parts with different agendas..and this goes back to childhood. The sleep thing goes back to infancy.

I have not been diagnosed DID, but have been diagnosed as complex PTSD. I also have CFIDS/ME, my immune system/endocrine system crashing after a life of trauma.

Reading your posts has been an interesting experience. I have never heard anyone else describe things the way you have. I have always thought that my quirks were unique. It's a new thought that they might be signs/symptoms of something else...i.e.not my fault.

I have remembered some of the abuse, but there is a lot that is still locked up tight. I feel very stuck. I wonder sometimes if being so ill with CFIDS is just another way of my body/mind telling it's story.

Thanks for listening. I'm on Polyvore, and just joined the Adult Survivors group. Making sets is the only thing that I(we?) want to do. I'm just making fun sets right now. It feels like playing...like I'm making up for lost time.

Thank you for listening. You sound like a kind person. Your story is amazing, and it's so encouraging to hear that you are healing and becoming so strong.

K.