N is for… Names

I have a lot of names.

I have the names my parents gave me when I was born. A first name, which is extremely common in my location and generation; a middle name which is almost as common and for reasons as yet unclear to me often found in conjunction with my first name; and a surname, my father’s name, my father’s father’s name, which can be traced back to Devon in 17-something. (Never mind that it sounds Scottish; the provable Scottish connection is elsewhere in the family tree.)

I have the name I chose to use online, when I became a member of an internet board at the age of fifteen. I have the name I chose to use online later in life, when I realised that the first one, selected as it was from the New Age Baby Name Book, belonged to members of a culture not my own, and to use it casually and without a cultural connection was offensive.

And I have the name I chose for myself at eighteen, when I saw that the name my parents gave me wasn’t standing up to everyday use. It’s a pagan name, but as a Quaker it is also my plain name, the one I use in everyday life and on documents. Together with my father’s surname, I have used it to publish academic work: I’m stuck with it, and happy about that. It’s the name of a Goddess.


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