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