Skip to content

in the end is the beginning

July 29, 2012

I no longer remember by what labyrinthine path I originally found Fred Clark’s blog, Slacktivist (in those days on TypePad), or exactly when it occurred. My best guess is 2005. I had only begun reading (non-Livejournal) blogs during election season 2004, but quickly wondered how I’d ever lived without them.

The commenters on Slacktivist were so erudite and knowledgeable on so many topics I didn’t know anything about that I lurked there for about a year before I first said anything.

Slacktivist was the very first blog I ever commented on, so that’s where I learned the ropes. Its standards became my standards. It showed me what a blog could do. And as I found my way, I realized I could be a blogger too (not just a commenter).

But first I had to have a name.

I’ve written other posts about my complicated relationships with other names I have gone by. But the short version is: I’ve never really liked my first name; and I changed my surname to something I carefully crafted over a six-month period, some 20 years ago. Even at that time, in 1992, I expected some day I would pick a different first name.

So you might think that the name I picked to comment under at Slacktivist – Laima — would have been carefully thought out, and designed to last.

But it wasn’t.

There was one day that I was finally ready to jump in and make myself known. So I needed a name. I spent 15 minutes debating alternatives before I settled on one. Ultimately I picked Laima because it seemed a good way to reference three important parts of my identity at once: my Lithuanian heritage; my Paganism; and being a weaver. Since it didn’t sound like anyone else’s name , it wouldn’t be easily confused with anyone else.

If I could have known then that I’d still be calling myself a variation of Laima seven years later, might I have picked differently? Or at least put more thought into the process? Hard to say. I am a person who reaches a certain threshold and leaps, without plans. I don’t believe in fate. I don’t want to know ahead of time how everything’s going to turn out. My favorite part of the present and future is co-creating something new, something unexpected, something unpredictable.

And Laima, Laiima, and Laiima Garrabing have all served me very well. I learned so much from being her. I became a writer. I began to believe in myself for the first time. I learned to trust my instincts, even when they took me in directions no one else appreciated. I ‘wrote to heal’ before I knew that was a thing, and in the process, not only gained insight into my own life and various people I used to know, but I healed from wounds I thought were permanent. I integrated, and I moved on.

I was Laima when I moved to Maryland, and discovered I could love where I live. I was Laima when my old life fell to pieces, with health problems and depression and fears that I no longer had anything to live for. I hung on by my teeth through two years of that before I realized it was more of Dabrowski’s Positive Disintegration, and that it was a good thing that my old life had been dismantled. Because it was holding me back. I started to dream about, and then imagine, being someone radically different than I had ever been before.

Laima and Laiima and Laiima Garrabing made these transitions possible. Before she came along, I knew things I wanted for my life, but I despaired that they could ever happen. I could not fathom a way to get from where I was to where I wanted to go.

And yet somehow, I’m now on the threshold of getting there. And seven years’ journey is not, for me, a long transition. Neither is it the blink of an eye. It’s been exactly as long as it needed to be.

+++

Several days ago, my association with The Slacktiverse formally came to an end. I met so many lovely people there, some of whom were my friends for a time, and perhaps some of those friendships will persist. I certainly hope so.

As I move forward, though, my time as Laima/Laiima/Laiima Garrabing has reached its end.

Instead of a pine cone that needs a forest fire to release its seeds, I envision my Laima as an exoskeleton that I had molted, but it took a forest fire to help me let go.

I should have found out as a child who I was separate from my mother, but that never happened the way it should have. I think I’m finally ready for it to happen now.

I don’t know who I’m going to be next.

Many parts of me fear being unknown, not having a name. But how can I name myself when I don’t know who I am? When I don’t even know who I want to be?

I need time to explore, time to try things, time to fail in new ways. I need to surprise myself.

But in the meantime, I also need to go by a name of some sort.

I wrote out a list of every name I’ve ever called myself. Then I crossed out all of those letters from an alphabet. I was left with six letters that have never been within my comfort zone. I will be going by three of them. They do not create a word of any sort; they are just a collection of consonants. They don’t imply anything. They don’t box me in.

So I have something resembling a name, but I’m also free to develop into whomever I want to be.

Good-bye, Lai(i)ma! Hello, Pqw!

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: