Microseconds that matter
Two kinds of people: some know my birth name, know my whole history; others don’t.
Two kinds of people: some, calling me by my name, hesitate for a microsecond before saying it: “How about you… Enne?”
So there’s actually four ways of saying the name. With somebody knowing and hesitating,
I get hurt. I don’t have the courage to say, “did you notice what just happened.” I don’t know why you did it, and probably never will, because it’s so difficult to ask. Was it a momentary lapse in your concentration, a sign of you thinking of me as something that is no more, and just pretending to respect my wish? These silent microseconds hurt me the most because they make me try to find them on everybody’s lips, hearing them even when they weren’t there, making me doubt even myself.
With people not knowing what was before, using the name I’ve given them to use,
I feel good and secure. This is my life as I want to live it, not as dictated by somebody else. I have the means to steer my life in directions I find meaningful. Sometimes it means steering away from difficult things in the past, and those things must be reckoned with at some point. People who don’t know who I’ve been, because I’ve decided not to tell them, can’t help me with those things.
With somebody not having lived it but knowing what I’ve decided to tell them,
I am open and fragile. I want to tell them everything about myself, and at the same time, I know that with telling, they may begin to think of me differently. Letting a new person know my old name is one of the most difficult things I know. But with the old name come so many stories, places, names, feelings, that have made me what I was and what I am. If I am to open myself to somebody, if I want somebody to understand me completely, I can’t separate my history from my present.
With people knowing everything and still saying the name, the name, like it is my name,
I feel loved and humbled. I am so important to somebody that they have wanted to let go of their old images of me, to understand me in a new way, not compel me into a shape easier for them to understand but let me be free and breathe again, freed from the prison of minds, both theirs and mine.