On this day a million years ago (Internet Time) I posted my first blog entry ever. It was another universe, another life. I was a different person then, one I like to claim I hardly recognise. That old blog is no longer accessible. I archived it and for good reason: after twelve years, it’s not that relevant anymore.
At every stage in life a man needs to reinvent himself, reassert who he is, and I am no different. I’ve been a child (arguably not for that long), a teenager, a young adult, and now I’m just a man. I evolved. I painted a picture of who I wanted to be. I made it happen (or I’m faking it, in the meantime). Like any big change, it meant questioning my identity, and what better way to define myself than through the name I bear?
I have long thought that people should get three names:
- a family name, appointed by the law;
- a given name, given by the parents;
- a chosen name, chosen by the bearer whenever he deems himself ready.
That time has come for me. Nearly thirty-seven years ago I inherited a name from my father, and he and my mother chose a first and middle name for me. I accept the law and I respect my parents’ choices. Now I want my say.
I’ve had a lot of reactions as I explained this to people, ranging from perplexity to mild, silent disapproval. Well, to those who think it’s weird or somehow not allowed… tough fucking shit. Society had its say. My parents had their say. But I’m the boss of me, no one else.
I won’t go into the reasons for this choice, but I’m proud to call myself John (or Johnny, or Jack, and all the avatars thereof). I’m proud, because I chose it myself, if nothing else. It’s nice. It’s empowering. It’s solid. If you haven’t done it yet and your country allows it, I encourage you to try. Decide who you want to be. Find out how you want to be called. Maybe it’s no different from what you are called now, or maybe you’ll learn something about yourself.
Life is a circular journey, like the orbit of a comet. First you go far away, pick up some things on the way, then gravity pulls you back toward who you truly are. Today John Terry Dock I hight, and it feels right. Time to go home to myself.