No longer nameless

In one of my favorite movies, The NeverEnding Story, the pivotal climax occurs when the young protagonist, the introverted, avid reader named Bastian is desperately called upon by the characters in the book he’s reading to give their Empress a new name in order to save their world, Fantasia, the collective pool of pediatric imagination, from destruction by mass negligence.

In the dramatic scene, Bastian courageously climbs the steps leading to a rickety old window that won’t stay securely closed, and, in the middle of a raging and scene-appropriate thunderstorm, he proceeds to holler out his mother’s name into the howling wind and rain, which obscure the audio such that it’s unintelligible for the movie viewer.

Recently, I’ve done something similar.  Except that there is no wind or thunderstorm, nor is there an incompetent window in a freaky old attic, nor is it my mother’s name.

There is, however, a real story, with real characters, and probably enough posts on this blog already to convert to a book (a readers’ (plural) wish that I will eventually grant (thank you and a big shout-out to the many who have offered so much encouragement!))

Because the posts–and their words and topics–are indeed real.  The stories, thoughts, victories, struggles, opinions, and memories I share are also indeed real.  Everything mentioned and written about here is 100% honest truth, as the Bio on the About page currently states.

Up until this point, I had simply signed my comments where applicable as “The Silent Wave” or, more fully, “The Silent Wave Blog writer”, usually followed by at least one emoji (of course; or 17).

People have affectionately moulded this into various more personal forms, including “SW”, “TSW”, and my favorite, “Ms. Wave”.

Some of you have already picked up on this name change, which tells me that people really do read the About pages on blogs (which is really cool!), because so far, that had been the only “rainy window” from which my new pseudonym has been called out.

More visible was the Gravatar avatar change, from the (caution: personal opinion ahead) beautiful and vague, yet soul-penetrating and semi-eerie single blue eye to an avatar that bears surprising resemblance to the real me (except 10-15 years younger) on a really good day in real life.  (Another big thank-you and shout-out to those who have complimented me on that, too!)

For the cheap seats, my pseudonym is Laina.  Lovely fellow blog-writer Mamautistic, in a recent post, has unknowingly inspired me to tack on a last name for completeness.  As of early this morning, I was less clear about what that name should be.

For me, a chosen name (be it a social media handle or what-have-you) has to have a significant meaning, a deep symbolism that, in an inside joke with myself, pays some kind of tribute or headnod to someone special, a life-changing event or concept, or something along those lines.  The meaning of the name Laina is that it’s a spin off of the middle name of someone close to me who, in a reversal of roles since they are younger, serves as a role model for me.

That was an easy play to call; the surname would prove to be more enigmatic.  (Caution: massive Info-Dump ahead…)

I considered Wolfe, since I’ve often described myself as a lone one and it seems to work; I also consider the Wolf a kindred spirit animal of sorts.  I also considered  Madison, a tribute to–and the full name of–our beautiful little cat (my grieving for whom I’ve written about here), whose spirit, still brighter and larger than life itself, remains forever intertwined with ours.  I also thought about Sphinx, Wanderlust, Shakti, and a few other awesome-sounding, meaning-filled terms I’ve loved over the years.

I finally decided on Eartharcher.  I considered Archer by itself, but then realized that pronouncing “Laina Archer” might be a bit awkward for some, as the two adjacent “a”s (the last letter of Laina and the first letter of Archer) might not roll off the tongue without a momentary stumble at times.

The “archer” part has significant meaning for me; it’s the mascot of the astrological sign of Sagittarius, and although that’s not my astrological Sun sign, Sagittarius was the first one I learned to identify by symbol as a little kid, long before even learning my own (Virgo).  In fact, I would get downright excited when I would spot it on the astrological wheel among the other Sun sign symbols.  When eventually read up on it, that excitement was justified; I exhibit plenty of those characteristics – exploring, needing space, innocent/well-meaning bluntness (whoops), impatience when cornered/confined, a thirst for knowledge, a seeker of truth, and a warrior for justice.

The “Earth” part is pretty straightforward.  At this juncture, I currently inhabit it.  It’s also the physical/material theater in which we all currently co-reside and connect.  Also, I’m pretty earthy.  My own astrological Sun sign, Virgo, is also an earth sign.

Of course, the word pseudonym, by its very nature, implies that the name itself is not my real one.  And of course, the avatar image is not an actual photo of me.

Those two details are the only lies I’m ever going to tell you.

Telling you these two lies may run against the moral codes of some, and I respect that.  However, I think that the benefits of telling these two lies outweigh the potential moral conundrum.  I have my reasons; I’ll share them.

1 – Truth, Honesty, Baggage-Free:

Telling these two lies allows me to be 100% truthful about everything else.  The “everything else” consists of topics that matter.  Topics that change perceptions, alter paths, save lives.  Topics that demonstrate evidence that comforts others by showing them that they’re not alone.  That they, too, are not weird or broken or inadequate or any of the other put-downs that get hurled at us and write the book of who we are and who we become.

Cloaking myself in the new name-and-pic “duds” also allows me to step into a shiny untainted version of myself, in which I’m not bogged down by previous baggage–scars earned through criticism and conflict, fighting battles and getting battered.  Doing this means that I feel even freer to be even more honest and candid, because there’s little to zero shame or reverberations of old tapes and moldy feelings holding me back, making me pick up where my childhood left off and continue to doubt myself.  I can become more expressive, more genuine. 

I promise, this persona is not simply a side-stage, where what I reveal is carefully selected and whitewashed to “impress” an audience, or packaged into a Marketable Me that’s easy to swallow.  It’s not a false picture or a half-truth. 

This persona is simply me in a parallel universe, one in which I haven’t been shackled up in any chains and mocked for making the mistake of letting the world at large see my true self. 

But it really is me in there.  A me that hasn’t gotten burned.  A me without the dents, cracks, or scuff marks.  The me that I was supposed to be. 

The me that should have been, dammit.

2 – Professionally Closeted:

Both my occupation and position in my geographical community put me in a fairly delicate situation.  Other than the four work-related people I’ve come out as Aspie/autistic to, I’m not (yet) in a position in which I’m able to shout my status from the rooftops unto the world at large yet.  General society still clings to stereotypes, harbors unquestioned misconceptions, and jumps to erroneous and lazy conclusions.  My competence, my licensure, and possibly even my livelihood (the latter of which is fragile enough as it is) could be thrown into jeopardy overnight, and my magic flying carpet could be yanked right out from under me.

My professional world is not yet ready for me, and acceptance may take a longer time to reach than most.

It’s an inconvenient, ugly, and shameful (on the part of the rest of the world) truth, but my hands are tied; I have no choice but to play the reindeer game.  It’s the only way I can help feed ourselves and pay the rent.

But I’m probably preaching to the choir; I’m certain that more than a few of you know exactly what I’m talking about, probably because you’re in the same boat, or you know someone who is.  Or maybe you don’t, but you can empathize anyway (three cheers for busting the “lack of empathy” stereotype!)  😉

I have been fairly vague about details, careful not to spill any beans lest anyone (offline, most likely NT) put two and two together and “out” me prematurely.  I’m not concerned about anyone on the spectrum or any of our allies doing that.  Nor do I think it would be done in malice or with wrongful intentions.  It would probably be a curious neurotypical member of clientele whose intentions are innocent enough.  But I wouldn’t be able to exert much influence over their reaction to finding out.  I wouldn’t be there to temper the speed and direction of their thought trains.  Nor would I be able to have any say over what would be done with that information afterward (even if the response was neutral or positive).

3 – Integrity, Purity:

Another reason why I obscure my details is to maintain the purity and integrity of my writing and my identity.  I’m not trying to sell anyone anything.  This blog is strictly, at this point, a volunteer labor of love. By remaining anonymous, I can put my money where my mouth is and demonstrate that. 🙂

(There may indeed come a time when I write a book, or perhaps I come fully “out” in professional life and decide that my true calling actually lies in the niche of offering effective support for people who are specifically on the spectrum, but that’s speculation into the distant future, a range too long to bring into clear focus right now.  Should that day ever come, where I venture into a more commercial direction, I’ll take Google’s long-forgotten “don’t be evil” torch and carry it proudly, living it fully, without dropping it or extinguishing it.  But for now, that’s neither here nor there.  Let’s just say that I won’t ever be an arse; I’ll be who I’ve always been: an ordinary member of our extraordinary community.)

So anyway, the decision to sacrifice the mundane details is the only way (at this time) in which I can disclose other more important details.  I swap out ones that don’t make a significant impact in favor of those that do.

Worry Not 🙂

Despite the surface changes–the name and the avatar, my continued journey with all of you up (not down) this path continues as it always has.  I’m still the same fundamental person inside.  True to form, routine rules and change sucks, so I change as little as possible…except for the natural evolution of life, that is.

And for me to make the decision to change and implement said change, it has to be worth it.  There has to be something in it for me.  More importantly, there has to be something in it for you.  And those benefits have to outweigh the time and effort it takes to make those changes.

And in making these cosmetic/surface changes, I think, in fact, that the answer is ‘yes’ to all of the above.

The something in it for me is that I get to become closer to a lot of you.  It’s an interesting phenomenon that I hadn’t expected, but it was a really pleasant surprise.  It’s not that I didn’t feel close to you before, but over the past few days, something has transformed, deepened, strengthened.  My theory is that it feels more personal to have a name and a face, even if slightly deviated, to attach to the entity (me).

The something in it for you, I’m guessing is similar to what’s in it for me, except from your perspective.  I know that for some of you, having that name and that face to mentally attach to the name, blog, and social media profile is comforting and connecting.

The effort and time it took?  Negligible.

Worth it?

Oh yeah 🙂

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This is one of my more popular posts!

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(Image Credit: Cyril Rolando)

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32 Comments

  1. Well I do admire you getting a bit more brave. I understand not wanting to use your real name though. I do because I have nothing to hide but I understand those who choose not to.

    I do appreciate the blog and the chats we’ve had over on Facebook though. Just keep being you. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for all your kind words! ❤️ Maybe one day, my name won’t matter, in that I can publish under my real name and society at large won’t bat an eye. That would be too neat, and I hope it comes to pass in my lifetime! 😊

      I treasure our chats as well, both on here and on FB 😊 My life has definitely become that much better since I’ve known you! 💞

      Like

  2. Well said, friend. I relate completely. I no longer need to protect myself, but I still FEEL the need. Hence, I don’t use my true surname either, but the name and avatar are the “true me” that has not been, as you said, shackled and mocked, and deeply harmed. The real me that should have been. Thank you once again for sharing yourself with us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love this!! Thank you for your encouragement. I agree with all you said, as well as your strategy (of course) 😊 What matters is that you’re doing what You feel you need to, and that’s awesome. If it helps you in any way (or in several ways!) then it’s totally a healthy thing. 💜💘

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congrats on this rite of passage. Imbolc season seems like good timing. I’ve experienced a lot of shifts and changes in many a February, myself. Nice to see you, Laina Eartharcher. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Omg! Girl, I love the way you think! (Have I told you that? Lol 😉). You make such an excellent point about Imbolc. I’m definitely with you! Yet one more way in which we’re in sync 😊 I wouldn’t doubt that that’s the driving force behind my actions! Thank you for your awesome encouragement, friend 💪🏼👏🏼💞

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You’re very welcome. My Imbolc this year was a little unsettling, because *nothing* dramatic or life-changing happened. It feels like something’s “cookin'”, but nothing is coming to light. Augh! I can’t take it! If change is gonna come, then let’s get on with it!

        Liked by 2 people

  4. fun fact: your “laina” contains my “ian” (which quite possibly predates yours) and you saw the quotes, of course 🙂

    ive noticed your laina, and i do like it a lot. its pretty. though youll always be “ms. wave” to me (even though youre earthy.) i shall try to cater to any preference(s) you have. i do adore “sis” and id love little more than knowing your real name– however, im an advocate of pseudonymns and pen names, *specifically* because they lend a hand to the very freedoms you spoke of.

    youre simply wonderful, laina. someday, id like to meet you in person. its a looong way from there to new england, but id hate to say never.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. p.s. i always thought your real handle was “this field intentionally left blank.” ive referred to you as such in at least one link or reference to your blog, and always enjoyed the literal (or self-contradicting) “meta” quality of it.

    “how can anything SAY that its blank?” (haha haha…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe it is on WP and yep, it’s a meta-play on words 😊 The story behind it comes from having downloaded various government-generated PDF files, which were prepared with hard-copy in mind, and probably according to a specific set of formatting standards. I noticed that some pages, usually occurring within the early parts of the document, had “This Field Was Intentionally Left Blank” as the only contents of the page, and it made me chuckle to myself. “Typical nonsensical government”, I would say. This was 10-15 years ago. So when I started my first blog, the Who Loves Kitty one, I thought, “perfect!” Lol. And it just ran from there. I run several blogs from that single account, and there are 2 of them that I don’t want to mix. I’d love to split one of them off on its own, but I’m not sure how to do it without making a mess lol 😊 So, I let it stand for now ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. i wouldnt try to split a blog without doing a full back up with wordpress.coms export feature, then using the import feature to put a copy up somewhere else, then deleting the posts that didnt fit from the new blog.

        i havent tried it, so i dont know what “export all” does and doesnt get– comments, avatars, etc. it probably doesnt get everything. the good news is youre using a copy, so if it doesnt work you just dont do anything to the blog youre copying it from. ❤ ❤

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Oooh! Good idea! Thank you for your info! 😊 Yeah, I’ve heard that it doesn’t preserve the likes or comments. Not sure about followers or anything else. Also don’t know about the picture gallery. The opposing blogs in question that I don’t want to cross over both have quite a bit of traffic and comments, although I don’t care about one of them nearly as much as the other. Definitely something I need to look more into before hauling off and doing it lol 😉 I promise I won’t do anything foolish 😉 I think I remember there being a “transfer blog” option, so I might play with that? I’ll have to proceed carefully, for sure 😊 I may just have to let things stand as is. And if so, that’s ok; it is what it is ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve never thought of what people choose to use as their avatar a “lie” as much as their online representation. And a pseudonym is also not a “lie” if acknowledged and not intended to masquerade as a “real” identity.

    My own reasons for not using a picture for my avatar are pretty straightforward and have nothing to do with hiding my face. (I use my real name, have posted pictures of myself, and so it’s not that hard to find even a pretty recent picture of me online if anyone really cares.) Rather, for reasons I can’t really explain, the thought of seeing my own face staring back at me all the time from my phone, computer, and other electronics just gives me the heebie jeebies (for lack of a better term). So I don’t do it. It’s as simple as that. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I totally agree with the idea of not wanting your own picture staring back at you all the time 😊 That would indeed be a little freaky to me! Lol 😊

      Also agreed on the point about using an acknowledged pseudonym not being the same as lying 😊 I guess I got a little overdramatic for a minute there lol. I think I was trying to (over)state a point, using the pair of the opposites “truth” vs “lie” (or more mildly, a “disclosed untruth”) 😊 In my mind, I probably wanted to drive the point home. Probably a bit sensationalist on my part lol. Hopefully that’s a rare occurrence. But I digress (as usual 😂)… I really want to say that I very much appreciate your support and the way in which you defended my decision 😊 That was really cool. It’s like you were sticking up for me to myself ❤️

      Liked by 2 people

  7. “a pseudonym is also not a ‘lie’ if acknowledged and not intended to masquerade as a “real” identity.”

    even if it is intended that way, its a tradition among many celebrated people, so the coordinated attacks against it from people like mark zuckerbergs sister are really pathetic and dubious– people like her PROVE just how horrible and thoughtless a person can be while using their real name. of course he has people to manage his account for him, which he shouldnt need unless half the people on facebook do…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh! I had been unaware of this. Hadn’t heard of Mark F**kerberg’s sister getting involved, or the shenanigans she’s been pulling. Interesting! Thank you for the info! Googling now… 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Mark F**kerberg”

        hey, ^^^^ theres no way you can oust sun-girl, as she actually kissed me. you did make me think to myself for a minute though “hmm, what would they call it if the sun had its own moon?” “oh right… ours has 8 (and a half!) of them.” the answer to your question though is… not yet relevant: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2011/aug/06/randi-zuckerberg-facebook-social-networking

        except the part where the jerkhole author says:

        “Just a couple of days before she resigned, Randi argued at a round-table discussion hosted by Marie Claire magazine that the best way to police social networking sites was to oblige everyone to use their real names. That did not endear her to the more radical online community, which believes anonymity and identity-shifting are all part of the great experiment of the internet.”

        “radical?” like the concept of giving for instance, battered spouses a place they can speak online safely is radical? seriously f*** these people, including this andrew gumbel fellow– for all this recent talk of fascism its been going on for years without next to a peep from anyone. theres a reason i dont do facebook. its made by the sort of people that think any right to privacy is something only “radicals” care about. its so far from intellectual honesty, that the closest thing to “radical” you really need to be is “literate.” and if thats how gumbel thinks of his readers… well, i know a few very tall buildings he can go sit on.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I had noticed the avatar change, but I rarely notice anyone’s avatar generally. I do read the ‘About’ sections more often than not, but only once, and first up. As for your name, sorry, but it really means very little to me. You’ll always be Ms Wave to me, if I need to personalise anything to you.

    The fact you spill your guts to us is the meaningful bit. And I thank you.

    As for lying, pfft, we all lie in some way. I’m gonna be really open, and apologies for those who may be offended; this is just MY opinion. Wonen (or whoever)…with dyed hair, a face covered 100% in make up and bodies with surgery are lying more than those with an avatar that vaguely resembles them. Your “transgressions” you are admitting to are very light grey ones. In the grand scheme, not an issue – to me.b

    Carry on, Ms Wave.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you luv! 🤗 Oh yes, I’m absolutely content with Ms Wave, too 😌 I don’t expect anyone to completely share my meanings lol 😂😉. I figure that this pseudonym will be useful for some, useless to others (which is perfectly ok), and it’ll come in handy whenever I end up publishing something 😉💖💜

      Like

    2. Oh yeah I totally get’cha 😊 I agree, change sucks, generally lol. That’s definitely why I’m a stick in the mud when it comes to upgrading my software or hardware, for example. If I’m not absolutely in need of something new, then I’ll happily stick with what I’ve got. I’m convinced that the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” was invented by an Aspie lol 😂 Because it’s so true! I don’t think my name situation was broken, per se; I felt it might have been a little lacking, but not in a dire way. If my chosen name grows on you at some point, great 😊 If not, it doesn’t change anything about what I think of you ❤️ You’re totally welcome to keep calling me Ms Wave as long as you like – that moniker is definitely one of my favorites! It’s totally cool to have a nickname given to you by someone in the community; I consider it a lovely gift, and I’m totally grateful for it! 💞 Thank you 😊🌟💜

      Liked by 1 person

  9. a question that comes up often in the tech world, almost rhetorically (and i really loathe the self-serving tech industry for that) is “does privacy still exist?” a fellow blogger asked it again today, and this was my reply:

    yes, privacy is that thing you do when you turn stuff off and you dont share everything.

    its also that thing you give up when you carry an (easily hackable) electronic camera and microphone (and gps/wifi transceiver) in your pocket. until more people buy cases that let you physically shutter the camera (they already exist) and let you physically turn the mic off, youre just bugged all the time. mostly this is spoken of by tin-foil-hats worried (with at least some reason) about corrupt governments, but battered spouses and other victims have as much to worry about from stalkers and other opportunists.

    i still think 90+% of these “celebrity photo leaks” are staged by the subjects of the photos. privacy technically exists– its that thing people sometimes give up, and often have taken. does it practically exist? we shouldnt give up on that yet, and theres absolutely no reason we have to.

    theres no real advantage to giving up now, other than more of the same foolishness (in the name of short-term “convenience”) that is now so typical. the cost of freedom is eternal vigilance. almost no one pays in these days– that doesnt make it worthless, just dismally rare. […a note to anyone that cares about technology: privacy is why i refuse to cater to facebook or windows 10 whenever i can avoid it. i recommend older versions of windows– or something else. (indeed anything else, at least for a start. although android and ios are garbage.) windows doesnt care about you, windows works against you. finding alternatives is always the first step. ios (iphone, ipad) is not a real alternative.]

    Liked by 1 person

  10. with regards to the mic, you cant turn it off (physically) but you *can* remove it on older phones. (then how do you talk on the phone? really its possible to guess this one. what would you do if the mic on your phone stopped working, other than replacing it or having it fixed?)

    the latest mic technology is fused to the circuit board, and im sure its *possible* to physically destroy without hurting the phone. possible, but not as simple as just finding the mic and ripping its little wires off. it was a lot easier until recently. in short: whether it really matters or not, it was a lot more trivial to turn your mic off until recently.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. (Replying to both comments). Thank you so much for this information! It’s fascinating and semi-frightening at the same time. I really appreciate your sharing it! 😊💖💖

      Liked by 1 person

      1. in the short run, no one really cares 😦 believe me i know. in the long run, it will be so much easier if people care in the short run, but thats not how it works for most people.

        the good news is that windows 10 is convincing a few people to switch to mac or gnu/linux. (ive got my own gnu/linux distro– close enough– but ive tried quite a few. theres a screencap of my desktop on the blog today.)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. oh, and i did get to talk to you today, as i said i might 💖💖 (happy love day, sis. was going to preface that like you do, but you mightve not noticed that the female version of neurobro is… heehee 😘)

        Liked by 2 people

  11. It’s lovely to hear your new name, Laina! ❤ So glad to have helped inspire you to find a suitable second name as well!

    I'm still woefully behind on reading your blog, but am slowly catching up and still enjoying it all along the way 🙂

    You've caused me to think that perhaps it's time for me to think about creating an avatar. I've not bothered yet, but maybe soon… 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your lovely words, Aria! I totally love your name, too – awesomesauce!! 👏🏼👏🏼💞

      Lol no worries about being “behind”, my lovely! Sometimes I have a compulsion to write and it probably gets a little overwhelming for my pretties who read this blog lol 😉 I’m so glad you’re enjoying it, though! My feeling about your blog is quite mutual 😘💘💜

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I fully endorse the awesome idea of you writing a book on this. You really should. You’re intelligent, have a large following, and your voice is excellent. Your story is worth sharing! Even if it’s under a psuedonym.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Laina,
    Well, this was one of your very few blogs I had to read twice to see the deeper meaning in it. ( which was not a punishment, because I so love your language, and esp. the way you use it.)
    I appreciate your thorough search to give your pseudo first ánd last name a deeply felt meaning, at least I understand and totally respect it is véry meaningful to you.

    With this blog you again gave me a bit of assurence that I’m allowed to belong to your world, thank you so much! ❤
    A world which I was diagnosed to belong to as well, but which still is so alien to me. (don't get me wrong: the feeling of not belonging yet has nóthing to do with shame in any way, and everything with being totally unfamiliar with it)

    -Anyway, like you I'm álways honest (tho not bluntly,I think, more in a naïve/childlike way).
    -Also, what you see is what you get.
    -I lóve to learn, which includes learning whát makes other people tick. (tic?? Google translate is not helpful here. 😉 )

    I appreciate your thorough search to give your pseudo first ánd last name a deeply felt meaning, at least I understand and totally respect it is véry meaningful to YOU. (and highly likely to everyone else here)

    Rationally I dó understand your expanation for your new name, that's not my problem. 😉
    What ís my problem is the fact that your name-change doesen't (yet) make me feel 'closer' to you, on the contrary.
    So, purely because of selfish reasons: may I still call you S.W. …. just for a while? (or so. 😉 )
    Would you mind very much?

    Have a good Sunday. 🙂
    Jos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi luv! You can call me whichever name you like 😊❤️. Several people have continued with the Silent Wave name in various forms (SW, Ms Wave, etc), and that’s perfectly fine with me ☀️💜

      Like

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