What’s in a name?

Every time I read a story or novel or see a movie or tv show about these seemingly normal people who the world for some reason decides to take interest in, I sighed and thought, “If they only knew my story…” So finally, a few days ago (and by days I mean months) I decided it was time to put something down in writing. When I was younger this was all within my grasp – the whole being a writer thing. Come to think of it, when I was younger just about everything was within my grasp; if only I’d been able to see past the devastation of teenage relations gone wrong. They try to tell you it’s like a gift – the present – that living in it is the best way to live. Well, that’s all I did when I was young; lived in the present. I threw myself at every whim and it made me miserable and heartbroken, angsty and rebellious. Of course what I have to show for it is exactly what living in the present will get you, a lack of a future. So, admittedly, it’s late for me to start living for the future, but damnit there’s gotta be something more to this. So I’m going to write a book. Another book about another seemingly normal person and you’re going to take interest in her. This time that person is me.

I started out without a name. “Baby Girl” was what they called newborns whose names hadn’t been chosen yet. Of course I’m assuming she didn’t name me; the woman- scratch that- girl who gave birth to me. She may have chosen an assortment of ridiculous names, or she may have chosen the perfect name – the only one that will ever fit, and I’d never know it. I won’t know if she held me or whether she cried when they took me away. What I know is that no name has ever felt right. Maybe all that isn’t fair. Maybe I wouldn’t have been satisfied with any name whether I had started out with one or not. I’ve tried on names like masks over the years. Every time I would hear one that sounded like it belonged to the person I thought I was, or wanted to be, I’d try it on. I’d take up a page in a notebook to sample my signature, and if I still liked it after that I’d start telling people to address me by it. I’d say it was my middle name, and I was choosing to go by it. It helped people understand that way. Of course the truth is I don’t have a middle name, I barely have a first one – I can’t even say it out loud. Anyway, I suppose today I’m Lena. Allow me to explain what brought me here…

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