December 23 – New Name Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?
I kinda have a fun story about this prompt.
When I was 13 or so, I discovered The Internet. And on The Internet was this amazing thing called fanfiction. Now, I became quite addicted to reading stories about my favorite characters, and after a few years, was brave enough to start writing some of my own. This was Back In The Day, when there was no Skype or social networks or any other method we have now of knowing more about the anonymous people we interact with online.
And being a child, mostly, I decided I wouldn’t use my real name. That way, they (the pedophiles and baddies I was sure were looking for 14 year old fanfiction authors) would never be able to find me! It took me a bit to come up with a pen name, but being the newbie anime nerd I was, knew it had to be Japanese. So I started writing as Akira Starr (the last name being that of one of my classmates; she wasn’t too impressed when I told her).
A little bit later, one of my friends, notably more versed in Japanese things, told me Akira was a guy’s name. Well, that certainly wouldn’t do! I promptly chopped off the A and in an instant, became Kira.
Which has been my online monicker ever since. I’ve signed emails with it for so long, it’s actually habit, and my recent signature of combining my true first name and my internet alter-ego feels...odd somehow.
Naturally, when I started posting my artwork, I used my online name, and when it came to finally publishing work and getting a bit more serious about where my artistic life was going, I knew I had to use my real first name. But after all these years, I can’t completely shed the Kira I am. Sometimes, it feels like I AM two people - Samie is the real me, the one sitting here typing, the one who will ride her bike to Starbucks later for some tea and writing time, the one who has faults and imperfections. And Kira is the woman I strive to be. I know it sounds odd, but in my mind, it makes perfect sense. Because we don’t have to share our whole selves online, Kira doesn’t have the bad habits and weaknesses that I have in the real world.
And more than that; most of my friends are ones I’ve met online, so they call me Kira. Which I sometimes prefer. But lately, there’s been this resurgence of calling me Samie or Samantha, from the very same people I’ve met online. I don’t know exactly where or how this started, and so, the question of, “What do you like to be called?” now comes up more than ever before.
The answer is, I don’t really mind. I feel like there’s a re-melding of the mind, this absorption that says I can be both. That I AM both - and that it’s totally okay. Honestly, I adore the name Kira, and sign many things that way. But my mother hates it. Which is her prerogative, since she was on the Official Naming Committee and while I may have been there, didn’t really vote.
I don’t know what the lesson is, here. And that’s okay, too.