What’s In A Name?

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So I know a lot of my readers are transgender — big surprise, I am too! — and that’s awesome. And transitioning doesn’t just mean changing our clothes and outward behaviours. It’s a fucking overhaul — if you’ll excuse my colourful language — which means tearing down a shitty structure that literally took years to build. We all were against this project pretty much from its inception, and thusly half-assed it along the way. But somehow, our superiours and peers managed to get us to erect something that actually took a bit of work — if only reluctantly so — which stood up until we finally had that moment of Zen; that fuck it moment. And so, here we are tearing it all down, piece by piece, brick by brick. Never minding how much, or if any of it could be salvaged. We’ll have time to sort through all of that later.

So we put up our scaffolds and tear everything down, while we try to quickly put something else up instead. It’s very messy, and poorly planned — but hey, we don’t have time anymore! It’s now or never. And if never, then I fucking quit! You all know what I mean, of course.

So like all good projects, we put out a sign for everyone to see what’s in progress. Kinda like, “future site of the Hallmark Plaza Center” or “Barnes and Noble coming to your neighborhood!” or something like that. But it’s ad hoc, and who knows how long we’ll keep it. It’ll do for now. But when we do finally settle on a name, whatever we wanna call this new project, we take time in choosing it. Now I don’t know about you, but my parents took an awful lot of time and care in choosing my old name. And while I loathe hearing it, I appreciated the sentiment, and thus have taken equal care in choosing a new name or, rather, names. I changed all of them, actually. Didn’t even keep the family name.

You see, when I came out, and first told everyone about the transition, the first questions from everyone were about bathroom privileges, gender pronouns, and what the Hell my new name was gonna be! And I didn’t know just where it would fit in, I just knew that I was meant to be called Argiope. Pronounced properly, Ar -jye (or a soft G) -oh -pee, it was the name, I discovered, from a very intimidating, yet marvelous spider I once came across in Texas. Argiope. It just fit fit. But where?

I considered Argiope Dionysus — to stick with the whole Grecco-Roman thing. Wilfred, Wendy, something feminine or at least androgynous starting with a “W”. W-Argiope-Hager? Hager was my last name; W-A-H were my old initials. And I really liked those initials because they were symmetrical and part of an old monogram I once came up with. Jeez!

So finally, I settled on Jadis Illiana Argiope. Jadis, being the name of the White Witch, The Queen in the Chronicles of Narnia. I took this name in honour of my mother. Illiana, being a name that my closest sister and I came up with many years ago, determined to be among the most beautiful sounding names a woman could have. And Argiope, mostly because it just fit, but the attraction to it can be accredited to my father because of the arachnofilia and the love of strange things he inspired in me and my younger siblings as a child. And so, I consider all three to be in honour and devotion to my Mother, Sister, and Father, all in ascending order.

That being said, I’ve always had a curiosity with names. They have meaning. And not just the personal qualities we give them, or the people we associate them with. Ultimately, every name is, or is derived from, a word. And  from those words can be derived an even greater meaning. For me, my first name, my old name, translated to The Advancing Wolf; a name that implied a sense of cunning. My middle name was the name of either a Viso- or Ostro-Goth chieftain or something like that, and meant King of All Things. My last name, I honestly don’t really know. But with what I had, together it inspired a mock-up foreshadowing, and delusions of grandeur. Needless to say, even though it didn’t quite seem to fit, what I found attractive about it was a fantasy that I might one day get to grasp the world; to know and to keep, if just for a little while. Feelings inspiring dreams of control and power. A world that never made sense to me, that I might one day get have the privilege to give it order; mine.

But my new names, my REAL names — the names that fit — tell a completely different story. On and off I’ve Googled their origins and, over time, more information has been made available to piece it all together. I now know the histories and possible meanings of my names. And now, I believe I am satisfied enough to extrapolate, and formulate a whole new set of holistic meanings, explanations, and predictions. It’s almost as satisfying as discovering one’s cosmic — or, at least geocentric — purpose or possible future. Almost. Definitely something to strive for.

So what have I arrived with? Well, let’s looks at what I have:

Jadis 1. In french, it is a word that means former or once, as in du temps jadis or once upon a time.

2. Adopted by C.S. Lewis as the name of the White Witch in the Chronicles of Narnia, thought to have been adopted from the Turkish word for witch.

Illiana 1. Variant of the Greek Iliana, meaning Trojan.
2. Variant of the Hebrew Eliana, meaning The Lord Has Responded.

Argiope 1. Greek and Latin meaning Of the Silver Face, referring to the mountain from which the nymph of this name dwelt. The mountain, believed to be that of Mount Parnassos.

So here is what I’ve actually come up with:

The Former Trojan of Mount Parnassos

Rather cryptic, don’t you think? It has an heir of inescapable mystery, one cannot deny. Now, I can look into this as an insight into a past life; a clue to the life of a spirit who once lived a unique, yet not so different life as my own. I can also look at it as a foreshadowing of things to come. Ultimately, as a gamer —  if you read that one blog not too long ago — I can look at this as both my character’s class and backstory. Personally, I’ve always come to think of the derived meanings of our names as possible standards to live by. In any event, it’s all just fascinating enough to enter into the journal that is my blog. Which I am pleased to share with you all here, today.
Now before I go, as a fun exercise, I’d like to ask you all this: Can you tell a story with your name?

If you have three or more names (first, middle and last), it makes it that much easier to create an elaborate story from merely the origin and meaning of your names.

Take your time. Expect to do a lot of reading. Also, don’t expect the story to come out as clearly as mine. You might find yours is more of a question than a statement. If so, pursue that, and follow it wherever it takes you. It’s okay if it’s abstract. It could be the answer to riddles so perplexing as to just why a raven is like a writing desk. The story might not even manifest until after you’ve pursued the meaning of the riddle. If so, perhaps that’s a journey worth blogging about too?

Whatever you find, don’t keep it to yourself. Send me a link, or share your answers in the comments below!
Until next time,

Thanks for reading!

References: Warning, if you have arachnophobia, please don’t click on the last link or, at least, don’t say I didn’t warn you?

http://babynamesworld.parentsconnect.com/meaning_of_Jadis.html
http://dictionary.reverso.net/french-english/jadis
http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/0/Illiana
http://babynamesworld.parentsconnect.com/meaning_of_Iliana.html
http://www.theoi.com/Nymphe/NympheArgiope1.html
http://www.sierrapotomac.org/W_Needham/Black&YellowArgiopeSpider_070723.htm 

UPDATE!!!

Watching a Deep Space Nine marathon via Netflix and guess what…*in a sin-song voice* I remembered where I got my middle name from:

http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Iliana_Ghemor

I first heard it here. So I have Star Trek to thank for it. =)

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4 responses »

  1. As I am guy (born and raised), I was never in the position of choosing a name for myself. My parents did that for me.
    Until I was 8 years old and I started to learn a bit of english, I had no idea that the initials of my name R, E, D, had any meaning in english. My name by which I am being called by friends and relatives is Dragos. According to some of the etymology I checked, this comes from slavonic and it means “precious and peaceful” or “precious and famous”. I find the first meaning very funny, especially when I think that in my name I can replace the last letter with “n” and I get to Dragon.
    My other name is Emil, which comes from latin (is my christian name, Aemilian of Durostorum was martyr saint) and it means “rivaling” or “imitating”.
    My family name comes from the town where my family had their domain, back when they were nobles in the middle ages. A great-grandfather of mine traced the family until 15th century and he assumed they were some mercenaries that bought the domain or were awarded with it and took their name from it. Anyway, that’s beside the point, essentially my name would be translated into “rivaling precious and peaceful” or “imitating precious and famous”.
    http://www.babynamespedia.com/meaning/Dragos
    http://www.babynamespedia.com/meaning/Emil

  2. My name is Welsh and means fair, blessed, or holy. I chose it cause it has one syllable and starts with G. It also has my birth name hidden inside it, I don’t hate the name so much as the irony of being stuck w/ it. My mother named me and keeping the name somewhat was my way of respecting her.
    My middle name is also Welsh and means silver, I just think it’s one of the prettiest names I’ve ever heard. I don’t go by it, but I’ve considered it. My old middle name was chosen to honor my grandfather, but I decided to say farewell to it. I still consider my grandfather to be the greatest man I’ve ever known.
    My last name I chose because it sounds cool. I’ve always has a fascination with the macabre and death. It fits my often dark personality. I wanted to lose my family name because at the time none of my family supported my transition, and I do loathe my father who the name comes from.

    • It’s for that reason — lack of acceptance from my father — that I surrendered my family name. Also, I had no intention of passing on any heirs, so the change wasn’t really that big of a deal for me or my family, either.

      Gwynn, thank you ever so much for sharing with us. I knew you had significance in your names. And you have story to make of all of it, no less. Excellent!

      Legends can made of the this. Stories are already being shared of the events that defined your life.

      [[BLESSED SILVER GRAVES]]

      A grand mystery awaits behind a gilded, hallowed tomb. This sounds adventurous, Gwynn! Lara Croftish even!

  3. My preferred first and middle names both come in some way from people who’ve touched me over my life, but they also fit with the ethnicity of my family and were not uncommon at the time I was born. I’ve gone sort of conservative with the name change and picked traditional names that meant a lot to me… sort of like if I had been born male and my parents had named me after certain people.

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