Names and Narratives

So the name thing is mostly that I want to do it once in terms of most of the official paperwork as getting banks, bills, drivers licences and other tat all done as well as retraining work mates is going to be a bother, and I don’t want to do it and then 3 or 6 months later realise I have to do it all over again as I made a mistake.

However at the minute I think the best way to articulate it is I’m not sure which narrative to follow. If I poke my brain at the minute it often tells me its name is Tabi to the point of accidentally signing off on mails as that when I’m sleepy and occasionally wanting to use it to start conversations on the phone. However my conscious mind isn’t so keen on it, possibly in part because of the alliteration.

So now I’ve got two narratives to draw wisdom from. Either I should listen to parts of my deep mind as they’re wise and know better which name to attach too based on how they fit and so forth. Or its just an animalistic part of my brain attaching to the first thing I tried for a long time and I (my noble human consciousness) should over ride that and retrain it to another name of my choice.

Eh, I think I’ll probably need to decide by the end of the week as I really need to come out at work.

Anyway stay tuned for an interesting second post on the fun of progesterone.

13 thoughts on “Names and Narratives

  1. mrvi

    I think it’s interesting that you’ve made the split between concious and unconscious mind. Consider this:

    The conscious mind is only that which we are ‘aware’ of. As you’ve said yourself, when you’re tired and sleepy you – not simply your unconscious mind, but *you* – sign off as Tabi. When you are unable to ‘control’ the situation, you worry about Tabi, and the whole situation as it stands.

    Now, the interesting metanarrative you’re running is that there is conflict/division. That’s understandable – after all you’re undergoing transition, the shift from one thing to another, yes? So if you look at the metanarrative of the transition process as a whole, it’s about bringing the inner and outer into line to be whole. To be comfortable in your own skin, when you’re most vulnerable AND when you’re feeling at your most powerful and fabulous.

    You’ve said that Sales folks might take the piss, which I think will get them slapped if they do. But you can’t control that. You can’t control how others see you, other than asking them to bear certain things in mind. Also, what’s wrong with the animalistic side? I suppose the question of whether you’re able to ‘train’ your ‘brain’ might be better served by not framing that way, but instead asking what makes you feel more ‘you’. Whichever that is, I’d advise you play that one to its utterly fabulous hilt my dear?

    (NB: I may just be being a cripple who’s sick of external judgements dictating how they feel after thirty odd years. YMMV.)

    For someone who’s so Buddhist influenced, the dualism you express and get caught upin is weirdly fascinating, and I mean that with love. Shut the brain up for a bit and *sit*. The ultimate question is, which makes you feel more *whole*, more *you* – if you build identity on extrinsic factors, it tends to be more fragile, and I can tell you that from brutal experience (Ask in person if you want the skinny)

    1. mostlyfoo

      Indeed, the conscious and subsconscious are in many ways made up of lots of bits and bobs and assorted parts of me that shift around, but by and large the bulk of awake me that considers itself me at any point is what I call my conscious self, the rest that provides prompts and does all the auto-pilot things I consider my subsconscious, and the constituents of both these labels are changable really.

      As for what makes me feel more me then I’ve never really been fussed about names before, I’ve never really had one that I could consider a name for much of me that I could use on paper and in person, and hence I never really grew attached to my paperwork name. I fought for my nicknames, but they weren’t whole and complete because they were never able to be used to bring the bureaucratic process to do my bidding.

      And so the quest for names was kind of exciting, I spent the first part of it looking for all kinds of names and narrowing down the list to ones I liked, and wanted to experiment with. But what I kind of find vexing is that large swathes of the me appear to have imprinted upon something that other large swathes of me aren’t so fond of, and are prepared to wind me up by not letting the conscious me make a choice of a name without extensively trying to insert another option.

      On the wholeness front I’m still not sure which names will do that, I’d like a name with the wholeness of feeling comfortable using it everywhere, which is why I find the attempted insertation of a name I don’t feel totally comfortable with by partly hidden bits of myself onto the tip of my tongue and fingers kind of vexing. Hence why I’m just pondering out loud, is this a sign I should heed to parts of me that have become attached, that I should learn to embrace this name as a wholeness? Or should I examine this and try and work out if its a delaying tactic, my brain worried about the outcome of dealing with coming out at work has decided to throw effort into trying to put a spanner in the works, generating attachment to a name it knows makes me uncomfortable to express at times.

      Afraid I find it hard to avoid the metanarrative of conflict amongst me, it seems to be the case at the minute. I’m hoping I’ll look back at this stage and decision in a few years and laugh at my over wrought behaviour.

    2. mostlyfoo

      Also because I think my previous reply came off as random and possibly ignoring your excellent advice – THANK YOU, your continued support has been awesome, especially as you continue to engage with round after round of this particular flavoured bullshit from my head :)

  2. bodybag_pilgrim

    This may be bollocks due to me misunderstanding processes, and if so please ignore and accept my apologies.

    But it seems to me that part of transition is a bid to bring conscious and unconscious assumptions into a more harmonious whole… and under those circumstances, I’d incline to going with your gut.

    1. mostlyfoo

      My gut says I don’t like alliterating names on me (on other people they’re fine). A lot. An awful lot. This is basically where my objection to just running with Tabi since last summer has come from.

      Emotively I made the decision I don’t want to change my surname because its a link to my family who I actually really rather like (several people have suggested “just change your surname” an idea I find odd from my POV, but I guess it makes sense to them) I have no real connection to the name as it were, but more that I have a connection to the people via the name. At least until I’m doing some kind of happy-hippy queer union thing, when I’ll definitely think of it.

      However swathes of my self say they’ll torture frequently conscious bits of me with bullshit if I don’t concede that they’ve imprinted on Tabitha. Basically I’d be fine with this if it wasn’t for my own bullshit dislike of alliteration, so I’m not trying to work out if I can either dodge this by keeping it as a middle name, or work out a tactic of using middle initials and other things in all written communication to avoid seeing my own alliteration.

      1. bodybag_pilgrim

        Welp, that’s a big ol’ conflict right there. Hrmm… Is there a ‘worse’ between, say, Tabitha Phoebe Tipper and Phoebe Tabitha Tipper?

        (It occurs to me that an ideal would be a name that shortens to Tabi but has a prefix rather than a suffix.)

        1. mostlyfoo

          Yup, but its also possibly a delaying tactic being fielded by my brain to avoid the scaryness of coming out at work, despite the fact they all know and I think more than 50% of my office have me friended on facebook, but its more the having to deal with it everywhere thing – which is true that I don’t feel truely ready but fuck it, the double living thing is just crushing me at the minute.

          See I really rather like Phoebe Tabitha Tipper, the aesthetics of the shape of Phoebe are really nice, its got a nice meaning, it keeps my initial and I can probably shorten it to Foo most places, but it doesn’t really seem worth using if my brains going to mope if I don’t go by my middle name everywhere, I’ve had split names and identities before and it really bugs me after a while. I’m just trying to work out if just having it there as a middle name would be enough to placate the attached bits of brain matter.

          Yeah as a suffix or a middle part of a name would work, looking on names.darkgreener I can’t find any in recent use, babynamespedia’s graph isn’t that helpful either. I did manage to find Octabia but er… maybe I’ll skip that, its a bit daft.

          Yeah the Erin debacle (where it faired okay in testing and aesthetics but pissed me off in actual usage for no good reason) made me work out some stuff about how I process language and name preferences which got me my current last list I experimented with. Generally names I liked tended towards “Three syllable name, with a one syllable nickname. Preferably starting with an open mouthed sound rather than a closed mouth sound, nickname at least preferably ending in an ie/e/y style noise” to quote my own notes, also I tend to like names whose popularity peaked about 1890-1940 (I have no idea why). Examples that made the short-short list in the last round for example included Persephone and Penelope as well as a bunch of other things, I was ideally aiming for something nice but not daft because it would be nice to have a name that doesn’t draw attention to itself at least while I’m doing the “obvious cannot get read coherently” stage of transitioning.

          Anyway, time I was sleeping.

          1. bodybag_pilgrim

            If I’m honest, mate, I’m kind of glad this isn’t something I have to go through, and I wouldn’t use Octabia either.

            Delaying tactic… I kind of suspect that’s not the case here, honestly, because it’s the same hangup every time. Or, rather, I suspect that if it IS a delaying tactic, it’s not JUST a delaying tactic, that this is a thing which will stick and itch. So I hope this rambling helps you get things a bit closer to right.


            I dunno. This may or may not help. But there’s a degree to which, as you transition, I’m beginning to see flashes of the likely conclusion (if conclusion is the right word, it’s not sitting well, but ‘end result’ seems worse) and I’m trying to stack the various choices against what I’m seeing.

            I really like Tabitha as a name, I’ve said that before. But I see a Phoebe slightly more than a Tabi, and a little more than I do a Tabitha. Which isn’t a negative – it’s something of a surprise –


            Legally, I’m not Tom. Legally, I’m Thomas.

            I don’t much like Thomas, but he’s handy. His name appears on official paperwork, which means official letters stand out like a sore thumb. But I’m not Tom-as-derivative-from-Thomas – for one thing, my parents have actually told me they didn’t know shortened names were acceptable, so they picked Thomas as a shell for Tom.

            It may not help with the split name thing, but what I’m saying is that over the course of this post I’ve realised I live with a split name and do it by exiling the one I don’t use to formality.

            It… might work for you? I dunno.

          2. mostlyfoo

            Eh, the names as delaying tactic thing does kind of make sense in that while this isn’t the first time its come up its been grinding on in different ways. At first there was lots of trying names, then there was falling out with the original test of Tabitha, lots of dithing and wanting to get something on paper to sort it all around Christmas so I could start getting stuff officially done.

            But after that there was a whole “I have no name” period, that was really unpleasant, looking back I recall one random facebook rant in which Craig sensibly asked me How will you know when you’ve found the right name? which was really useful.

            Anyway, the point of this recent batch of name picking was supposed to be to find something rapid that didn’t have to be my name (since I still didn’t have one) but instead just not piss me off like Erin did so I could get on with paperwork and then possibly (probably?) change in a year or so when I found something else that really worked (if I ever do).

            And Phoebe is kind of working for that, it doesn’t piss me off. However in the last month or so I’ve suddenly acquired loud parts of my brain that are insisting that I do have a name and that name is Tabitha so I should just get over myself and use it. So eh, multivaried wibbles. If I go with Tabitha then thats done and if I want I can still do the “change it when I find something better” plan, but currently I’m worrying about my brain changing its mind in a grumpy way in 3, 6, 9 whatever months. And in general I worry about the name change plan because having to retrain coworkers and chase down all the bits of paperwork is going to be a PITA and I’d really rather do it once.

            Yeah I’ve pondered the formal split name thing but I can just see it being a pain when email comes from one address and name, is signed off on another, which I also use to answer the phone and in person conversation, but bank details and official gubmint ID is back in the formal name.

            Not really sure how productive this comment is, but thanks for keeping up the discussion :)

          3. bodybag_pilgrim

            I think part of the difficulty in being productive is that we’ve identified the problem area, but what the problem actually IS is a little harder to identify. We’ve just got its results to go on.

            Whatever happens, there’s going to be a degree of retraining coworkers, and to a lesser degree, friends. Incorporating both into your name would allow “Well, officially, it’s P—- T— T—, and I quite like Tabi, but we’re going to see what fits” – which at least allows you to prime a second if needed while still surfing the momentum from the first.

            Dashes provided because, well, I can see us ending up with another name sneaking in past the post when all’s said and done.

          4. mostlyfoo

            But this is surely often the case in various forms of bug diagnostics, you change something, observe the behaviour changes and try and use it to divine which part of the structure you need to peer closer at until you can work out the problem.

            Eh, I was writing up coming out memo to work drafts last night, I still like how Phoebe looks more than how it sounds, but it should at least be functional, but I was trying to find if there was a business way of saying “I’m trying this name it may not stick” without inferring “this isn’t a real name change you can be a dick about this”

          5. bodybag_pilgrim

            My brain is insisting the phrase “but this is a process, and so Phoebe may not be the final result” is appropriate, but I think that’s gonna depend on your coworkers.

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