Ruling with elf wisdomPosted: May 6, 2014 Filed under: coming out, name change | Tags: androgyny, coming out, gender identity, genderqueer, lgbt, lgbtq, media, names, non-binary, pen names, queer, trans, transgender 18 Comments
The term, “ruling with elf wisdom” is linked to the names, “Aubrey” (f) and “Avery” (m/f). They are of English origin. In the case of Avery, the meaning is derived from the Old English words aelf, meaning elf, and raed, meaning counsel. What does this mean exactly? Elves have made appearances throughout time in different cultures’ storytelling and mythology, most notably Germanic and Norse mythology (which may be the basis for today’s understanding of elves as helpers to Santa Claus, of the North Pole.) Not to mention Tolkein’s imaginings. According to Wikia, a website for fandom,
“The elves were originally imagined as a race of minor nature and fertility gods, who are often pictured as youthful-seeming men and women of great beauty, living in forests and underground places, like caves, or in wells and springs. They have been portrayed to be long-lived or immortal and as beings of magical powers. In Norse paganism, Light elves were beautiful creatures and were considered to be ‘guardian angels.’ Light elves were minor gods of nature and fertility; they could help or hinder, humans with their knowledge of magical powers. They also often delivered an inspiration to art or music.”
“The Dark Elves hated the sun and it’s sunlight, because if they were touched or exposed to it they would immediately turn into stone. They use to annoy and threaten humans, to the point that nightmares were thought to be produced by the Dark Elves.These elves could also haunt animals, especially horses. They are also known as dwarfs. “
Elves are known to be playful, mischievous, and flighty, yet loyal and duty-bound. So, to rule with this wisdom can only be a good thing! To “rule with dwarf wisdom,” if there were such a thing, might be something else entirely.
I have not heard any follow-ups from the Washington Post reporter in over a week, so I’m assuming she went with someone else. I’m kinda bummed – it felt like it would have been a good personal challenge. Maybe I’ll have more opportunities to talk with more people in the future… I’ll share the link to the story as soon as I come across it.
Having the chance to talk with her via phone and then to think about the potential of her coming here to hang out with me as I live my life definitely made some specific types of thoughts more pronounced, for many many days in a row. Mainly, what do I want to share with others, and what feels too vulnerable? Hypothetically, to what extent would I choose to be anonymous? These questions have been on my mind quite a bit for a while, but suddenly it felt like I might need to make some definitive choices. And even though the pressure’s off on those decisions, I’m still pressing myself about it, at least some of it. I finally decided to settle on a new name.
The name situation has been a thing I haven’t directly addressed but have thought about for roughly 10+ years (like a lot of particulars about my gender identity). I do not like to go by my legal name, or the name I used growing up. Somewhere in my mid-twenties, I skewed it slightly, and that started to stick – almost everyone knows me by this slightly masculinized version of a pretty feminine name. But ultimately, it’s not what I want. I’ve toyed with the idea (off-and-on) of going by a male name. The biggest contenders were Adam (this is my drag persona) and Konrad (just because I like it).
But, I have to admit that ultimately, it would be too hard for me to request a name like that if I’m not ever going to be appearing definitively male. I wish it were no big thing. And to many people, I imagine it wouldn’t be, and they’d easily make the switch. Just… it would be too awkward for me. I already know.
Ideally, I’ve wanted to go by a name that is right in the middle of androgyny. I mean, a lot of names can be male or female names, but usually, they’re much more commonly used for one over the other.
I talked to my partner about a potential new name about a week ago. This is a conversation we’ve had at other points in time, for sure. But it was always more whimsical – sort of like, what if?… This time it was more like, OK, I really need to pick now. I have this piece of writing I want to submit to our local LGBT literary magazine, and it’s due in 3 days, and I need a pen name!
That ended up being pretty tense; note to self – don’t try to rush these kinds of decisions. Haha. But we got through it; she helped me come to a name that I’m going to start using ASAP as a pen name. Avery. And if I still like it, I’ll start using it more and more online, and then if I’m still liking it, the big switch to real life (which I envision will involve legally changing it as well.) But all that feels pretty scary, so for now, it’s just a pen name.
“Avery” definitely seems androgynous to me – maybe skewed more to masculine, but feels like either, for sure. I looked up the origin / what it means, and that pretty much sealed the deal. A few websites confirmed, “the name literally means, ‘ruling with elf wisdom.'”
Not sure if I could find a better fit!!!
If you picked out your name, how did you come to it / narrow it down???
An epic name with an even more epic meaning! I chose my name with three real caveats in mind:1) the etymology, 2) the meaning, and 3) that it honor my father in some way, shape, or form. Long story short, my name in an elaboration of “Bran,” which means raven (so literally I believe it means little raven), which honors my dad in that he’s in love with the raven mythology of the West Coat tribal communities. Secondly it’s Gaelic/Welsh, which flows a lot better with my last name (which is English and means “Man of learning / clerk”), and then I chose my middle name to flow with the British Isles theme.
Good luck with the naming process! It’s awkward and full of self-doubt, if my experience is any indication, but completely worth it. =]
*IS an elaboration, oopsies. Also, if you have any new thoughts to add to this process, it’d make a great addition to the collab blog!
Yeah, I’d like to get back into the blog… feels like it’s stalled out a bit. I think we could use some new voices / collaborators – can you think of anything I could do to help drum up new interest?!!
Promote, promote, promote! Otherwise that’s all I can think of. I also try and link interesting or related articles through reblogging them, hoping that if people search for them in Google or something, they’ll run across the blog.
You’re right – it feels so awkward and full of self doubt. Which is probably why it’s jut been a hypothetical for so long. I like the process you took to find your name!
My name is Khai. I’ve shortened it from the very-feminine “Kyleigh” that my parents gave me. My whole life, people have shortened my name to Ky, but even when I write Ky, people read it “Kay” which bothers me. So in History and Religion Late in Imperial China, my junior year of college, I made a joke about how people always manage to read the word “Thai” correctly, and started writing my name “Khai” just for that class. (Small school, you can do that kind of thing)
The professor said, “yeah, plus now your name isn’t the same as a lubricant”
And I’ve never looked back. I like it because Kai is the Vietnamese word for water, and my legal name means ‘daughter of the storm’ so, it’s similar in meaning, but androgynous enough to be either– I know an equal mix of male and female K-ie named people.
LikeLiked by 1 person
That’s a great story. I like how your professor apparently has a sense of humor! Definitely seems like an androgynous name to me as well…
LikeLiked by 1 person
I also wanted a name that worked both ways, and it also took me a very long time to figure it out (and then only with the help of a Starbucks barrista). The runners up were Charlie and Dov (Hebrew for Bear and used only by men), but I went through a lot of waspy sounding object names before I got it clear in my head. It makes a huge difference to me to have a name that fits. If you can imagine having an inside your head smile every time you are called by your name, it is like that.
Interestingly enough, my classically cisgendered grand-niece (a complicated mix of marriages in Donna’s family) who is in her mid twenties has changed her name at least 4 times (starting with Rachel and currently at Raleigh) and no one has tried to read too much into it or asked her which pronouns she wants to use. She just assumes that everyone will play along with it, and they do.
I remember your post from a few months ago about how you came upon your name. Great story! At this point, seeing / hearing this new name is totally jarring – alarming even. But I don’t think that’s an indicator that it’s not the right name for me. I’m positive this would occur for me with any name I was trying switch to… I look forward to the point where it does feel like an inside-my-head smile. 🙂
Haha! WOW! I love it!
Elf-like essence unearthed!
I’m working on this now myself. The name I’m planning on using is the name my dad picked if I’d been born male. Interestingly, it is the neutral name Blair. The middle name was his father’s middle name and he was actually going to call me Robbie, which is a nickname based off of the middle name. My dilemma at the moment is whether to use Robbie or Blair for every day use. I like both.
I like both too! When I was thinking in a more whimsical realm, I thought of going by Kohlrabi (pronounced like “kole-robbie which is a vegetable somewhere between a cabbage and a turnip) or “Robbie” for short. Kinda silly to name myself after an obscure vegetable though, haha!
Good luck on picking!
I love those pictures! Avery seems like an excellent fit.
I spent about 60 seconds picking my new name, haha. I knew I wanted to keep my initials and the “format” of my name–a Hebrew first name and a middle name in honor of a family friend who passed away. I was sitting in a coffee shop with my girlfriend (now fiancee). I mentally ran through all the Hebrew male names I knew starting with the letter “S” and quickly vetoed a view. Samuel–her dad’s name; Solomon–too grandiose. I came “Shalom” and never questioned it; it seemed meant to be.
That’s incredible it took you a minute! Must have felt good – like, major hurdle tackled instantaneously. Does “Shalom” mean welcome? That is a great name.
Thanks! It was pretty awesome, haha. Shalom means “peace” and is also used as a greeting & farewell.
As you know, it took several iterations to find my name. My old pseudonym maddox felt weird in real life. I also used an androgynized shortened nickname version for a few years, but ultimately wasn’t happy with it.
Part of the point of changing my name was so people would notice the changes with my gender. Unfortunately my new name is similar, so many older acquaintances don’t even notice unless I tell. I also toyed with the idea of going with a distinctly male name, given I do not look very male. So the contrast would help skew people towards the (social) masculine when in doubt, which is often. (You and I frequently have the same thoughts and come to opposite conclusions!)
My ideal name would be androgynous yet ever so slightly masculine, which is why ‘Micah’ sealed the deal. I kind of had an instant gut feeling of “this is it” when I saw it written next to my last name.
Patience and good luck in your quest.
I love the story of your name selection, and the meaning is too perfect!
I’m in the midst of a name-change myself. I identify as nonbinary and my given name means “beautiful woman”- barf! I wanted to keep the same initial since I’ve published some and want continuity for professional reasons. So I looked at the etymology and went all the way back to the Latin original name, then looked at other versions. Other forms of my given name include Charles and Charlotte, so I decided on Charlie as an androgynous form.
So far so good. Most people are transitioning to my new name with little fuss and I really like how it sounds and feels. I’m waiting to legally change it until I’ve lived with it for a while and know for sure that it’s right for me.