Our first grandchild was born in July. His name was carefully constructed by his parents. The first name unique, not one in use in the family or by extended relatives. The middle name a respectful homage to an uncle who died too young. The last name one that shows the child's relationship to this specific couple. Being male I wonder if he will ever decide to change his last name if he marries. I wonder if he will grow up loving his first name, or decide to use his middle name instead. Then what about a nick name. How many people are given a "proper" name but called by a nickname all their life?
Now that the Internet remembers everything about us--even when we wish it didn't--it is hard to change one's mind about a name. Even if a name is changed legally, getting a previous named erased from the Internet is near impossible.
At birth my first name was after my great-grandmother--the woman who raised my father. It was given to me not because my parents loved that name, but because my great-grandmother insisted I be named after her. My middle name was in rememberance of my father's sister who died when she was young. My last name was my family name. I was always called by middle name because my mother hated being forced dto name me after great-grandma.
When I married, I took on my husbands name and took the opportunity to drop that hated first name so I could retain my family name. When I divorced I dropped by husbands name. When I remarried I took on my new husband's name. When I look back on it, all these names were a reflection of me at that time of life and how I perceived my role in the world.
Am I a different person with each of these names? Inside I am the same person. I can't help but be the same. I still care about the same things, have the same life philosophy, and I think my writing in both young adult and adult fiction deal with similar issues. However, on the outside, I think I am a different person. We all show different sides of our personality in different social situations. My Maggie Jaimeson persona is older, more serious, more of a motherly figure. In many ways I channel my counselor training through Maggie Jaimeson. My Maggie Faire persona is an adult, but allows me to channel some of the freedom and angst of being a teenager. I feel more free to joke, be a little over the top, or emotional.
I believe everyone chooses personas for different parts of their life. They aren't falsehoods, but the desire to only reveal a small part of the whole. How about you? Do you have different personas? Do you act differently depending on who you are with or what you think is expected in that situation? Do you ever wish you were a little less inhibited?
I love this quote about writers I saw today. It reflects that dissonance between who we portray on the outside and who we are on the inside. Now if only could change my name on all the bad books. :)
"A person who publishes a book willfully appears before the populace with his pants down. If it is a good book nothing can hurt him. If it is a bad book nothing can help him."
--Edna St. Vincent Millay