What’s in a Name?

I know it is no big deal to many of you who use your real names on your blogs. But I have used two pen names since starting this blog shortly after the death of my wife. I was still teaching, and my daughter was still in high school. Although the LGBTQ community has made great strides in being accepted by society, there is still prejudice. Being in education, I still had to be careful. Additionally, much of my writing comes from my experiences. Hence, some of my work centers on my daughter. Therefore, I wanted to protect her privacy as well. However now that I am retired and after lengthy consideration, I have decided to dispense with the pen names I have been using. I changed the domain name a few months ago when the old domain encountered issues with being shared on Facebook. I never did figure that problem out but changing the domain which included my real surname fixed the problem. I believe it was the April Writing Prompt Challenge—I am more than Breath and Bone– from Christine Ray, Brave and Reckless.com, that provided the impetus which spurred me to use my real name. The poem that came out of responding to that prompt was a recognition of what my mother and foremothers have done for and given me. I have tried to raise my daughter to be proud of herself, her family, and her two moms. If I hide behind a pen name, am I teaching her pride? Am I doing what my mother and foremothers have done for me? If I hide behind a pen name, am I “holding up the mountains” for her as was done for me? But I needed it to be okay with her. So, I asked her how she felt about it. What if her friends stumble across some of my work? What if they saw something that was about her? She responded with complete honesty and clarity, “Well, Mom. It’s your writing. If they do, they do.” So, with that, my name is Annette Kalandros, and I will be using my real name from this point forward.

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Annette Kalandros

I am a retired teacher, enjoying everything that retirement means. In addition, I have been active in the LGBTQ community since I was four years old and marched my Ken doll with all his little Ken accouterments to the big metal trash can in the yard. Yes, I dumped Ken, along with said accouterments, into the can and slammed the lid on. My two Barbie dolls lived happily ever after.

10 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?”

  1. I considered long and hard about using my real name. A few years ago I did a personal protest regarding trophy hunting that ended up in the local paper. This article then circulated through Facebook pages of hunters both trophy and not. It was an interesting and terrifying experience to have ‘men/women with guns that know how to use them ‘ stalk/threaten and otherwise deride me and anyone with my same name on Facebook.
    It gave me a courage I could not have learned any other way. So the jury is still out on my real name being used anywhere on social media. My first time out was to say the least a cautionary tale:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can understand that. My profession kept me from it and concern for my daughter. Since neither of those are now a concern, the only things holding me back were my own insecurities and my irrational fear. But if I’d had your experience, I think I’d still be using a pen name!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It takes courage to face insecurities and irrational (or rational) fears. The one thing I learned about that kind of courage is that once you face it, you own it. It is stored somewhere inside and when called upon again you can build on it and from it. It took great courage for you to reveal your name and I understand and admire you for it.

        I have been encouraged to write my Trophy hunter story and publish it on WordPress (where I feel safe) It has been following me around and one day I will write the whole story…… both the facts of it, the fallout and the gifts.

        but I still may be a westcoastwoman:)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you. And we each have to follow our hearts and our feelings of safety over the revelation of names. I’d be interest to read the trophy hunter story. Here in Texas, well…I’m sure you can imagine.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a personal choice to be open and out, there are no rules in this issue and each of us needs to act upon our best interest. We had a big discussion in Israel in the 90s, when people realized that there are gays between them (what a big surprise!), and tried to out the famous. I found it an awful thing to do. I knew a few women teachers who were lesbians, some of them were also religious, which was (and still) very dangerous to be if one wants to make a living and not getting fired. Those who are in a relationship and open about it, are self employed or have jobs in gay friendly places. The education system is not one of them, alas.
    Your daughter is to be admired for her courage and her supporting you. You definitely brought her up well. I am sorry about the fact that people still need courage to be open about what and who they are, and that still, in the 21st century, we can’t leave in peace without being harassed threatened.
    On a personal note: when I realized that I’m lesbian, I was a mother of three teenagers and still married to a man. The first thing I did was to tell my kids, as I was always honest with them. When I asked them what they felt about it, they said that this was my life and I should do what I find is right for me. They gain their big portion in my will 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now that I’m retired, it does make it easier. I have tried to raise my daughter to be strong and have a sense of pride. Things may be easier here in the States, but there is still prejudice and those who would like to take away everything that we have gained. It is ironic that in the country touted for freedom and liberty that many still do not have either or have to live in fear. I’m sure this sense of fear is greater in many other countries. We are blessed to have what we do in the states, but we have a long way to go before we can live up to the ideals of the foundation on which our country was founded upon.

      Liked by 2 people

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