July 2018
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introducing myself as James / reactions to my new name / new journal title & subtitle

Yesterday I introduced myself as James for the first time and it felt so right! I was a little nervous about it because I tend to stumble over my own name when introducing myself because I'm never sure which name to use, but this time it just came right out with no hesitation. (but then I got overexcited when introducing myself to a second person and completely missed zir name *embarrassment*) The best part was later when the first person referred to me first as "she" and then corrected zirself by saying "he." Neither are my ideal, of course, but in my opinion the pronouns one uses refer to the speaker's ideas of gender and don't actually say anything about the person to whom they are referring, so I just smiled to myself. But it was so awesome because it showed that ze wasn't simply assuming that I identified/agreed with the gender I've been assigned. Which is exactly what I was hoping for!

What is odd to me is that this doesn't feel revolutionary to me (because James is such a 'normal' name), but people are reacting pretty strongly to it. Well, a few people. I had someone who was a friend when we were children unfriend me on facebook right after I posted my reasons and tagged zir, and my ex-partner feels very weird about it. But some people have been shockingly supportive too -- my ex-partner told me that when ze went to zir parents' house, zir dad greeted zir and smilingly asked, "How's James?" Oh my God/dess, that made me cry and I'm tearing up again right now. It was so unexpected and so... cheerfully accepting. Which is something I've never really gotten from my ex-partner's family since Rebecca and I stopped being friends (which was 7 years ago). And it means even more because my ex-partner's dad knows that we're getting a divorce and still cares enough about me the individual (not just me the in-law) to not only ask after me but to read what I write and respond to me with acceptance. That kinda blows my mind.

With this shift, it felt like the right time to change my journal title and subtitle. The old title/subtitle was "Biting the Sun -- only in the burning do I taste that sweetest nectar." (explained here) I feel I'm opening a new chapter; I've bitten the sun, been burned and nourished, and now I'm transforming. My new title/subtitle is "walking on the wings of the wind -- hope lets me fall and catches me again." The title refers to one of my favorite scriptures, Psalm 104:3. Using a bit of scripture is significant because I've been so disgusted with Christianity for years now, but I'm starting to feel like it's not entirely hopeless, and rediscovering my love for certain elements within it. There is a true equalist movement happening in Christianity and I'm wondering if there might be a way for me to help people who are like my old self; yearning for the truth, but unable to find it among all the church's dogma. And the subtitle refers to the pattern I'm embracing right now -- falling and flying, resting only in hope. I'm not looking for security, stability, safety; those are things one only finds on the ground and right now I want to live in the sky.

sounds: Enigma - Sitting on the Moon | Powered by Last.fm
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xenopsi ══╣╠══
You inspire me. :)
belenen ══╣curious╠══
aww, how so?
miintikwa ══╣╠══
That's beautiful and inspiring! I am very happy for you.
austentatious ══╣╠══
I'm really glad that your ex-partner's dad was accepting of your new name, and just of the situation in general. It's nice that he is recognizing you as an individual and not just "child's ex-partner" or similar.

James is a beautiful name. I have a good friend named James. (Everyone else calls him "Jim," and I always joke about how I can never find him on Facebook when I do a search for "James." Haha.)

And this is silly, and I hope I don't offend you, but I actually didn't know that your real name wasn't Belenen until your recent post! It just seemed so natural and beautiful and appropriate for you that I never questioned it. ;)
cunningbunny ══╣╠══
"James is a very common first name for women (#875 out of 4276)..."

I guess I just don't get why anyone is making a big hairy deal out of this, even if they're hung up on gender bias. You should tell them you're changing your name to Rufus. :-P
jennifer19 ══╣╠══
I love the name James. It was my grandfather's name, who I connect with very strongly even though he passed away long before I was born. It's my uncle's name and my nephew's middle name (named after our grandfather). :-)

All my best to you. :-)
Happy Hugs
aerialmelodies ══╣Happy Hugs╠══
A name can help describe who we are, but in the end it is just our inner self that we have to show the world. If someone is only taking you at face value and deciding whether or not to be friends based on what name you've chosen, then that's not someone who is willing to move forward and learn the why of your name.

I'm glad you're finding it comfortable, natural, and easy to say your new name. And that story about your father in law was really sweet! I hope he'll continue to support you regardless of how things go with your ex-partner. <3
Baby Chick
oceanid ══╣Baby Chick╠══
I couldn't agree more with you Shel <3
divinemiss_em ══╣╠══
I know you are "just" following your heart and doing what feels right to you, but I think you are being really brave :)

happystance ══╣╠══
you keep me thinking outside of my box when it comes to these kind of issues. i love you for it.
folkchick3 ══╣Imagine╠══
I love and admire how you are always truly and quintessentially yourself. It is inspiring to watch you seek your truth and then hold on to it with both hands. Your commitment to honesty and self integrity is Just Beautiful.
saturnsdaughter ══╣╠══
I'm glad that you're feeling comfortable with the change, and finding support in the most unexpected of places :)

Anyone who feels strongly enough to cut ties with you because of this really isn't someone you need to spend energy on. How you choose to express yourself is your business, and there's no logical reason to be offended by it.
victoriansquid ══╣╠══
Good for you. I think it is wonderful that you are able to express yourself and be met with acceptance for the most part.

I am having trouble with people respecting some of personal choices my husband and myself are making at the moment. But, we are sticking together through this.

Sorry this has been my first comment since friending you. I am kinda shy.
emotionalspazz ══╣╠══
I feel like I missed something important about when you decided to do this... was it to get over a gender barrier, or...? I feel silly, but I'm a little confused.
wisdom -
tralfamadore ══╣wisdom - "you are a light in the world"╠══
You absolutely make my heart sing. When I saw your name on my FaceBook with your picture alongside, all I could do was smile and smile and smile. We have such few interactions between us, but I feel as though your journey helps me to grow as well. Watching as you make your way through life with such honesty and willingness to accept experiences is honestly just beyond words that I have to describe it. You are wonderful.
delicatexflower ══╣hope."do what you said you would."╠══

awww! ~ this is a bigggg moment in your life! i'm so happy i can play witnessed to this! i'm so happy for you! it puts me to ease knowing your soon-to-be father-in-law was so accepting. i can't imagine what it must mean to you, ah this is a blessing. <3
zen_sakka ══╣╠══
James. *love*
mmmmurgle ══╣╠══
I really liked the title of you're journal before, but I love it now that I know the thoughts behind it-- I especially love the phrase "flying and falling, resting only in hope." It's lovely. Not a way I'd ever want to live, but a way I see a lot of beauty in. I hope you're enjoying your life in the sky.

I also find it interesting that hearing you talked about as James didn't set off any cognitive dissonance for me--I just marked it in my head as "girl named James" and moved on. It made plenty of sense to me. :) I am glad though that I learned more about how you actually view yourself.

on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.