ON: THE IMPORTANCE OF CHANGING NAMES

We come into this world transient things on a time limit, born in on wings of promise and hope, but with so little life to be had and so many things to accomplish. It seems weird to me, then, that the names we bear, those little icons of our inherent humanity, are chosen before the givers of those names even have an inkling of who we are, or who we will turn out to be. Think of yourself in that position, if you haven’t already been there before. You are an expecting parent, mother or father, and your child has yet to be born, but you must in your “infinite wisdom” give them a moniker they will be effectively stuck with the rest of there lives. You must define them, in most cases with little more than a grainy sonogram pointing out their genitalia. It seems to me that a person in that position has better odds of pulling a name out of a hat that will be a fitting one than picking one on the basis of the information they are given.

Names have power, the names we are given define is I subtle ways, define how people think about us in terms of gender and identity, and define how we think of ourselves in those terms and many more. Given the choice, and with zero repercussions, would you chose to alter you name from that which was chosen nearly at random? For me that answer was simple, a resounding YES.

Our society puts so much pressure on the naming of children, so much to the point of if a child isn’t given one of the current socially accepted names they become nearly a pariah among their peers. Wouldn’t it make more sense if the naming of a person fell on the person themselves? Who knows better about who you are than YOU. Who better suited to give yourself a name than YOU.

Our parentage is another matter entirely, our last names show where we came from, while inversely our first and middle names show where we are going, or are meant to. But what if you wish to cut yourself off from your past? Many people do, its not entirely uncommon. And in that same vein, what if you wish to redefine where you are going? To take the reigns of your life and redirect your course in some dramatic and well thought out manner? Is it really so capricious to want to alter the once thought to be set in stone series of concept and letters that are our names?

Think of cases of trans children, whose entire identity hast to be altered on the basis of gender in flux, or those who wish to cut themselves off from painful or abusive relatives, or even those who just wish to have a name that is more in line with who they are are less in line with the thoughts and whims and expectations of parents with no idea who they were birthing? A THOUSAND reasons to change those tiny letters that spell out who we are, and very little to give credence to the current name giving paradigm. If I could without much recourse I’d change my name to one better suited to me, for both purposes, to cut myself off from my history, and to redefine where I am going, and I doubt I’m the only one.

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INFANT GROWING UP

sickly sweet tangents blinding

find myself in forward thinking

twist back on fickle mindset

I fret and jam the threats in step

hate dripping in my ego

in a past not long ago

re-reading every page though

of a book I’m sure to know

deny my constant findings

delay my state of mind

I’m caught up in my windings

clockwork heart starting to choke

so I woke up wasted one day

blurted out whats in my heart

night tripped into a blinding

echo chamber of larks

when I found he didn’t run

when I found he didn’t run away

when I found no disgust in this mess

I found a reason now to stay

my form is twice a broken thing

my essence at odds with my being

my reflection telling lies to me

I’m many people in one

shrinking photo op

giving birth and breaking up

fucking with my aching parts

and starting shit when no one

else is even down

to frown and spice things

entice them with pictures so confusing

brooding is no longer my forte

this giggling abomination

here to stay

BROKEN BINDINGS

tie me to the window

and hang me out to dry

epochs drifting slowly from this

place where I reside

in a bubble caught betwixt

sheets lost in the mix

I’m fixated on this trick

narcissistic for my fix

and its nowhere but me

a place where I can be

and its nowhere but now

somehow I’ve found myself and how

do you make it make sense

in my defense

I’ve never had time to look

too far within when I’ve been

a broken bindings book

so i’m calling out my name

its the same that sickly startling thing

I’m a beneficiary of me

inherited relief

and I’m looking out the window

while walking down the street

can you blame me for my weakness

to be all I can be

I am now a one man army of me

a blasphemy to some but

to others a calming hymn

will I still regret the past

when I outlast this uncertainty

when I break through my window

into a transformed being

FAST FORWARD

Wasting time and effort on this

plethora of people near and dear

and far away

I’m twisting time and singing

voice cracking but still believing

me is the way I was born to bleed

and be a better me than I could be

if I had a better upbringing

maybe I’d still have the hope I seek

renew me redeploy this heart attack

blackened by the days of my past

flip back get on track with the tracking

of this beat up vcr that used to play

rewind an be kind to me I’m still

getting used to the idea of

being free

being a being that knows its purpose

its worth it but I’m still feeling

hesitate before the day is dawning

iron wrought gates and silver linings

beside myself with sinning

in disbelief of my new beginnings

breathe in seek in step outside my door

let the air out and restore this

solid gold attempt to find myself

if I fail I have no one else

GOLDEN

I tip my glass to second chances at this

class of classless

people seemingly here for the

gravity of bliss

and I’m trickling down into my new

identity each day

its a freckled face forgiveness of

the past I walked away from

so this new born bitch

will be gloating in the morning

and this brazen beast will be

fighting towards the dawn

and I’m a frightened thing

but still frightening

I have words to speak

things to teach now that I’m

golden

On: The Derogatory use of the term “Special Snowflake”

Commonly used in internet chat rooms, comment sections, and social media is the term “special snowflake”. It is most often passed around by both trolls looking to offend and people legitimately being asinine, and is a way of saying that while you THINK you are unique, we are all garbage. Within the context of that use by a certain mind of people, it is an insult used in banter to bring people down and a way of looking down on those who they feel are being all “highfalutin” about themselves. Not only are they being the worst kind of assholes, but they are using the term itself in a way that it was never intended, and here’s why…

The term can be traced back to the 1996 debut novel of Chuck Palahniuk “Fight Club”, and the subsequent 1999 movie of the same name by director David Fincher. In the novel, and unnamed protagonist undergoes a startling transformation from working class slave to underground boxing ring leader and activist, both through the titular fight clubs, and through an extension of those known as project mayhem. The “fight clubs” are intended to be a release of primal male aggression, and project mayhem is meant to be a way of striking back at a society that ignores and enslaves them.

NOW onto the subject at hand: the term special snowflake is from a portion of the novel/movie wherein Tyler Durden states that we are not all “beautiful and unique snowflakes”, and that rather we are “the all singing all dancing crap of the world”. Taken at face value this does seem to mean that none of us are in fact unique, but when you explore further the themes of the novel a different explanation becomes clear.

When you look at his rants as a whole you’ll notice that he talks a lot about the promises society gives people, of being something greater, or the POTENTIAL to be something greater. Movie gods and rock stars (paraphrased), when in fact we all end up in menial jobs just working to get by. According to Tyler society stifles our creative potential, and that promise of greatness is and always has been a lie, a deception to keep us in our social and economic positions. SO when you look at the quote itself again, it is less saying “we are all garbage” (paraphrased) and more saying society promises us something greater, and let’s us down KEEPING us in a position of being garbage. We begin our lives with the promise that we can all be unique, we are told to always be ourselves, but at every turn when a person tries to do just that we are ridiculed and made to be pariahs.

In Project Mayhem Tyler broke down that training, a sort of radical deprogramming from the positions we are placed in in society. At first glance, it is cultish to the extreme and authoritarian, but its true purpose was to allow people to express themselves apart from the promises of society. The “space monkies” HAD to be mentally deconstructed in order to start anew and become who they were meant to be all along.

To reiterate: the term special snowflakes isn’t really about how we are all garbage, but more that we are PROMISED by society that being unique is possible, and then made to be outcasts if we attempt just that. His purpose wasn’t to bring people down, but to uplift them in a radical, and in retrospect misguided, way.

When I see that term passed around I think to myself “I’ve been reading Chuck since you were in diapers, and you are so off base about what he meant”. It is used to ridicule everyone from those in the social justice movement to those that are LGBTQ+. Most amusing of all is his exploration of the idea if subsequent novels like Invisible Monsters which heavily featured a trans character named Brandy Alexandra.

SO not only are these trollish characters being objectively awful, but they are missing the point entirely of the source material they are unknowingly quoting as a means to bring people down.