Killing Voldemort

By , February 2, 2010 1:33 am

Once upon a time, I wrote about how my old name may or may not be like He Who Shall Not Be Named. I had said to a friend, jokingly, “You can say my old [male] name! It’s not like it’s Voldemort.”

I’ve been thinking about that idea since then, and of the power of names. And I realized that I don’t want people saying my old name. A coworker of mine, who met me after I was living full-time as Rebecca, knows my old name because she gets the office mail and random catalogs and things occasionally arrive in my old name. I was telling a story to a friend that needed to use my old name, and felt uncomfortable when I got to that point in the story.

I’m starting to feel a bit claustrophobic in my current job, where I’ve been since before I transitioned. And in a building that I’ve been coming to for classes and to teach and work since I was nine. In the city where I grew up. Surrounded by people who knew me before I transitioned.

I also don’t want to totally cut myself off from pre-transition life, from the friends and family and memories. But I’m floundering right now, having a hard time keeping my head above water, and I’m wondering how much my surroundings have to do with it.

4 Responses to “Killing Voldemort”

  1. TeenMommy says:

    I’m not sure what advice would really be good here. I know it’s not the same, but I was in foster care when I was younger, and very few people in my life right now know that. Very few people in my life right now have even 1/4 of a clue about the state of my life before I was eighteen. It’s because I moved to another state four days after turning eighteen and have never looked back.

    It’s helped, but slowly. The first month after moving here was the hardest because I was kind of living my little dream of getting away, and I still felt shitty anyway. “Wherever you go, there you are,” and all that cliched stuff. But over time I think it’s been a good thing. Being away from the people whose notions about me and my life controlled me has allowed me to become a person who cannot be controlled by the notions of others. I’m comfortable going back to my hometown for visits now, whereas before I was horrified and embarrassed to go out and run into someone who would force me to think about the reality of me and my past.

    So I’m not sure that that helps at all, but it’s just what I thought of.

    • Rebecca says:

      Trans people don’t have the market cornered on complex histories, so it’s really helpful to hear the experiences of others. Thanks – I really appreciate your comments.

      I’m torn right now. I shouldn’t be making any big decisions right now, because of the depression I’m experiencing that’s hitting me from all sides. But there is something really tempting about trying to get a clean slate somewhere else. I’m just not sure if that means finding a new job, or a new city.

      • TeenMommy says:

        I think depression can sometimes be our minds’ way of saying, “MAKE A CHANGE!!!”, yes, with multiple exclamation marks. :p But the thing about moving somewhere new (as opposed to picking up a new hobby or even quitting a job) is that it gets rid of whatever support systems might already be in place and forces you to make new ones, which is scary and challenging and can leave you (*cough* me *cough*) in bed until one while wondering what the purpose in life could possibly be. In the meantime, absolutely nobody will be interested in finding YOU. You have to find THEM. So if you do decide to go somewhere else, it can be safer to go somewhere where you already know people, which may get in the way of the entire purpose of the whole going away thing in the first place.

        I’m glad I did move though. It… I didn’t belong where I was, and I love where I am now. I did build a family and a group of friends here, and the fact that I get to decide when to tell them about my past (as opposed to them automatically knowing) makes our relationships more equal. Some people would say/have said that’s dishonest of me, but I think it’s just nobody’s right to know everything about me right away.

        Anyway, if you decide to move to Boston, I’m here! :p

        • Rebecca says:

          That makes a lot of sense, and is a big part of my hesitation about moving. I need to think lots more about it, in any event. And I’ll definitely give you a shout if I’m ever in Boston! 🙂

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