Wednesday, January 1, 2014

How would you choose a new name - for yourself?

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Happy New Year and Welcome to 2014!

The beginning of a new year is often the time when people reflect on the year past, and ruminate on what they would like the next year to bring. For some it is a time for transformation - a new image and maybe even a new name.

It's interesting when someone chooses a new name for themselves; whether it be for career reasons, personal reasons, or or as an online alias. Everyone has their own process. Some prefer to choose a variation of their current name, a tweak that sits more comfortably with them. Some choose a completely different name, something that simply resonates better with who they are, or who they see themselves as. And others prefer to take inspiration from from something with a personal meaning to them, something or someone they feel connected to.

I wondered about this recently when I saw a couple of movies on the one weekend where characters had slightly unconventional ways of choosing their aliases.

Firstly, in 'Pacific Rim' there is a black market dealer called Hannibal Chau, played by Ron Perlman. Not really the type of person most would picture when they hear the surname Chau, so there had to be a story behind it. As the character explains in the movie, "I got the name from my favorite historical figure and my second-favorite Szechuan restaurant in Brooklyn". He is referring to Hannibal Barca, a Carthaginian who lived from 247 BC to about 182 BC and is considered to be one of the greatest military commanders of all time.

The second movie was a little older and a lot more silly - 'Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay'. This one comes in the form of a bordello employee named Tits Hemingway "Because I have huge tits, and my favorite book is 'A Moveable Feast'" (charming, I know). The book she's referring to is a memoir written by Ernest Hemingway about his years spent in Paris in the 1920's.

So it seems that both have chosen an inspiring figure, paired with something a little less lofty. This is probably in part for their comedy value - they are characters in movies after all. Although I have to admit to my own screen name Blue Juniper being somewhat along these lines.

Juniper is a name I fell in love with as a teenager reading a book called 'The Juniper Game' by Sherryl Jordan. The main character Juniper was described as beautiful and magical, and I thought it was so exotic and lovely that I couldn't get it out of my head. It was my online user name for many things. Until I joined one site and it was already taken. So, put on the spot, I added my favourite colour and became Blue Juniper. Long before Blue Ivy Carter was born, might I add ☺

There are tons of other reasons why someone would chose to adopt an alias, or legally change their name. For a couple of examples, my mother changed her middle name to honour a beloved grandma, and a friend of mine once changed her surname to feel more connected to her biological father. And of course, many of us change our name when we get married. Are you looking at a name change (legal or less officially) in 2014? If you're in control of choosing that new name, how will you be making your decision?

This month I'll be looking at some current day screen names and invented names, so let me know if there are any that you're interested in finding out more about and I'll see what I can do. I hope you are looking forward to a great 2014!

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