chosen names, identity, things that matter to me

Some thoughts on self-identification.

I’ve been hanging out in my local kink and sex-positive communities for…since 2008, I think. I have lost track. I make an effort to know people in the local kink community, to try to know them beyond a list of “things we might do together” and to think of them as humans (and some fae!) with lives, dreams, passions, pains… whole beings.

I also make a great effort to know myself, and to think about how to communicate that into the world in some useful manner. I created this name, shiny, very intentionally as I was re-entering these communities after a significant hiatus for life-changing events.

I made an agreement with myself to live my life in a particular way. To inspect the dark corners, wrestle with what I find, and emerge triumphant. I wanted to see what would happen if I opened myself up to let people see how much joy and love I am capable of giving, without holding myself back because of fear. It was an agreement to shine.

It began with a screen name, a way to represent that agreement to myself. Over time it became clear to myself and other people that shiny is who and what I am. It’s really more of a descriptor than a name, and in my own perverse way I much enjoy being identified by a description of my most keen life goal.

It works pretty well. Most people get it.

I gravitate toward communities of choice, accepting of self-identification. I don’t need you to tell me who I am, because I am going to work that out on my own and attempt to express it back to you in word and deed.

Some people have a difficulty taking anyone seriously who has a name like shiny – I get that, it’s a bit different. Then again, I teach consent classes, so here’s a good opportunity to start practicing. It doesn’t matter what you think, it matters what I’m asking you to respect about me.

I’d like you to understand that it’s an attempt to help you know who I am and by what path I have so far come to be that person. It’s not an attempt to engage you in non-consensual frivolity.

So here it is: If we haven’t met before, or you’re not sure what I like to be called, I like shiny.

Thank you for being open to people who attempt to define and identify themselves.