On Names and a Childhood Friend

I had a friend growing up. They were a lot like me. Liked the things I liked. Went everywhere I did. They even looked a bit like me. Green eyes, blonde (theirs was longer), same age, laugh, the sort. The only difference was that they were a girl. Oh, and imaginary.

As I look back on my thoughts around Elizabeth, the name I had given her, I begin to connect the pieces on how she came to be. As I’ve gone into lengths before on this blog, I have had issues with subduing my trans feelings, mainly due to the perception in society and my religious upbringing. Yet, somehow these sub-conscious feelings surfaced and manifested themselves into this form. I was only a kid at the time, couldn’t tell you the specific age, probably around 9, 10, or 11. I didn’t really know I was trans until I was about 11, but yet it still was a part of me. Just waiting to escape.

It’s an interesting case to analyse and I certainly don’t have all the tools to do so. That said, it makes me wonder if being trans is always a part of us. Something that influences our every decision growing up. A lot of transfolk don’t usually transition or accept themselves until after puberty.  Many people may just not have the vocabulary to describe what they feel. I don’t think it’s fair though to assume that all cases are the same. We’ve yet to fully understand the trans* experience and to generalise does it an injustice.

Now, I’ve told this story a few times to my friends, and they ask why I never took the name Elizabeth. To me, as much as I love the name, I think I’ve had too many girlfriends and lovers named Elizabeth to fully identify with it. I also wanted my name to be something that I could truly love. I also wanted justification in it’s origin. I didn’t want it to come out of the blue. I had a very unique name before and wished to keep that originality. My original name was a derivative of one of the Greek Gods. Although I was never a believer of such myths (as the name was also that of a Christian Saint), I still liked to think about and feel apart of them. That said, the goddess (yes, goddess) which my given name is derived from was never my favourite. On the other hand, Athena was a bad-ass. Strong and smart. There’s no real names that are derivatives of Athena, such as my given name, so I took it on in its pure form.

My imaginary friend was certainly a building block to who I am today. It helped me focus my thoughts and identity. It helped me better understand who I am on the inside. I always had an active imagination, which I am now thankful for, as it made me who I am today.

– Athena 🦉

Additional Reading

Stonewall – The Truth about Trans

Trans stories on how they chose their name

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