Friday, September 19, 2014

The Girl Known as Danielle

Danielle...I've written that name hundreds, probably even thousands, of times over the years. But I have to admit that it's never felt like it was mine. I know that my mom will hate this but, Danielle never felt like me. It's a beautiful name and one that I passed on to my daughter, but somehow, I've never fit into the shape of Danielle. It's always felt slightly off, slightly uncomfortable.

My family always called me Dani, or Danie depending on who you ask. This was better. And as I got older I started asking others to call me Dani too. On that first day of school when the teacher went through the roll and asked what you wanted to be called I finally got the nerve to request being called Dani, right about the 8th grade. I quickly became Dani and Danielle became a formality, my legal responsibility.

But then, at some point I can't quite pin down, Dani also started to feel odd. My life was changing and that name wasn't. For a moment I considered going back to Danielle, but it was clear that was totally wrong. I was growing as a human, becoming more connected to spirit, remembering my connection to the earth and the rest of humanity. I was in a transition and I didn't think that Dani was going to make it out the other side. She did make it, but not quite completely, she had changed. However, it's still my name, many people still use that name, I still respond to it, but it isn't quite right.

Working on my spiritual self was (and still is) hard work. It is like giving birth to yourself over and over again (see what I did there?). In the first of my conscious rebirths I took my own name. It was at a Brigid ritual that I said this name out loud in public for the first time. I stood in a circle and as we went around each taking our turn to introduce ourselves I said, "I'm Phoenix" and it was done.

It was scary, sharing that piece of myself with others, but it was a name that fit so perfectly. There is a long history on the origins of Phoenix for me. This wasn't some hippie, new age, woo-woo name that I just decided on from flipping through a new agey name book. It was a name that was in my heart and soul going back to an early age when I first stepped into my power. Phoenix was born when I was 15 years old. I just wasn't ready to fully become her until much later.

As I may have mentioned in the past, I went to a non-traditional high school called Phoenix High (yes, Phoenix the bird, not the city). In this school we learned about personal power, non-violent communication, emotional triggers and how to deal with them, and so much more. It was through this school I learn who I was and what I wanted to do with that. It was through this education that I stepped more into my own power. It was through this school that I first became Phoenix; although it took another ten years to realize it...

I have considered taking steps to legally change my name, but not only is it expensive, it seems unnecessary. However, with recent social media changes maybe it isn't such a bad idea. I have been known as Phoenix for several years now. There are people in my life that don't know Dani. There are people in my life that once knew Dani, but don't see her in me anymore.

Taking the name Phoenix was never about hiding who I really am, but rather, stepping fully into myself.

Art by
Names are more than what our parents put on our birth certificates. Names hold power. They make us who we are and naming another individual is serious business. However, names don't always fit right. Names get worn out. Names need changing sometimes. Who is anyone else to tell you what you name should or shouldn't be.

I am Phoenix. Nice to meet you.

1 comment:

  1. I've had the great pleasure of knowing both Dani and Phoenix. The former is lovely. The latter is clearly you!