I have four names.
Sandy. Xan. Alex. Alexandra.
I can tell how people know me by what they call me.
Sandy is the child. I was not supposed to have a nickname. The story is when my mother saw me, she said that I was so small it seemed awful to hang such a long and grand name on me. My grandmother was horrified. "Why would you name a child after a dog!?" (Sandy is the name of Little Orphan Annie's dog). I was Sandy from birth until I was 17. I really think having this name warped me, because I was never much of a Sandy. Sandy is fun and cute and compliant. Sandy's pretty mainstream. She dreams about her wedding and gets a degree in English.
Xan, ironically, is the name my mother always called me. I look at it now and I don't recognize myself in it, even though it's the name I used the longest. I tried to change from Sandy when we moved to Illinois when I was 14, but my brother sabotaged the effort by telling everyone I was lying; my name was Sandy. Meantime, he changed his use-name from Andrew to Drew. When I got to college, without him, I left Sandy behind. There are still people I'm fairly close to who never knew she existed. Xan fits me well- hard to pronounce, absolutely unique, short and difficult. But Xan is part of Bill, which makes it tough.
Alex came about when I tried to have an art career. Sick of explaining "Xan" and unable to get a hearing as Alexandra, I masculinized it. Presto- art career. That's another whole blog, right there. Only one person still calls me Alex. Alex did not make much of an impact on the world.
Alexandra is what my father always called me. It's interesting that they gave me this nickname, Sandy, which never really suited me, but then didn't use it themselves except in public. I brought it back because Xan felt like "Bill and Xan"-- in a way she doesn't exist without him. So I killed her. I chose the name I was born with, who I was never allowed by the world to be.
I wonder who she is?