Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hiding Our Heritage

I have a confession to make.  Two actually.

I'm Jewish.  And my name is not Meg Winters. 

When the name Meg came into my consciousness (it was my name during a "past life regression."  I won't discuss whether I believe in them or not; I was subject to a few like this one), I knew it was one of many short forms of Margaret.  Margaret is one of those magical girl names which have dozens of nicknames: Meg, Peg, Marge, Maggie, Peggy, and on and on.  (Side note: I once asked a woman I work with, who introduced herself to me as "Kimberly" if she ever used a short form of her name.  She said "like 'Kim'?" and I said "well, yeah.  Or 'Burley'."  Yes, I lived.)

Margaret is never a Jewish name, often a Catholic name.  A couple of people assumed "Meg" was short for "Megan," but being over the Age When Everyone Was Named Megan, I never thought of that.  I doubt there's a woman my age named "Megan."

I'm not sure where Winters came from.  Winters is a good British name, not a Jewish one.

So when I introduce myself ("call me Meg"), there's no Jewish clue.  Even if I offer my last name, there's no Jewish "tell" there.

I don't hide my heritage.  At game nights, I spoke with other "members of the tribe" and identified myself as such.  But I'm hesitant....  "I belong to ....  Where do you belong?" might mean a story.  "Me too!" could be awkward, especially since nobody's acknowledged that I'm not what I appear.

I'm sure that's true of other girls I meet at t-events.  We choose names that may or may not match our heritage.  I never looked at a list of names and said "I need one that reflects history" and declared myself to be "Sarah Berkowitz," any more than Mike McMasters said "Abigail O'Toole.  What else could I call myself?"

But we lose something.

I don't have a clue as to how important this is, or how to fix it, but I've been thinking about it a bit.  A lot.

And I'm open to ideas, readers.



7 comments:

  1. Meg -

    There are quite a few "members of the tribe" who do not have Jewish sounding names. So why change your blogging name? My blogging name has only a loose reference to traits connected to me - and it's a good thing.

    M

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  2. Meg.

    You raise an interesting issue related to naming conventions in the girlhood. I, like many of us, chose a first name that is close to my guy-life real name. In drab, I'm Ron (Ronald). My first on-line name was Rhonda Girl (Ron, 'da girl). Later, realizing thar "Girl" is not a great, nor imaginative, last name, I pulled "Darling" out of the air and slapped it on. As we all learn the hard way, once you choose a name for your on-line presence, you're pretty much stuck with it. I've chosen to keep the name across all the sites and blogs I visit so that friends recognize me.

    I never thought of staying true to heritage because I was looking for a secret identity and did not really want any clues beyond the "Rhonda" part of the name.

    Best,
    Bruce Wayne

    ReplyDelete
  3. Meg,

    If anyone has spent any time reading your blog they would never have any question your heritage. You have never hidden that aspect of who you are from your blog posts. Likewise you note that the civilians that you have met while out and about as Meg have understood that you are a "member of the tribe". I believe in respect for one's heritage and it is clear that you feel likewise.

    I had wondered whether you had entirely given up on your musings about your past life. While I do not know why I am a cross dresser I have often had dreams where I was a woman from another age. I have had many dreams where I am dressed in the styles of women of he 1930s and 1940s. I have also had dreams where my attire is that of women of the 1910s and 1920s as well as dreams where my attire is that of a woman in the mid 1800s.

    Whether I was a woman in a past life and I am now a soul in search of a former component may not be provable but it does provide grist for pleasant musings.

    Pat

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  4. I'm hesitant to say this because I don't want to offend you, but if you end up getting a divorce, you could return to your maiden name...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Offense? That was the best laugh of the day!

      Delete
  5. You might consider adopting a traditionally Jewish middle name, which you could use when you're in Jewish spaces. Margaret Rebekka Winters might pass muster, expecially since many Jewish last names have been anglicized.

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  6. Meg,
    A Jewish tgirl from Baltimore also encouraged me to embrace our heritage. For example, I try to wear religious jewelry sometimes while en femme. My first name is the name of my first gf. My last name, Rose, was my great-grandmother's surname. She was from England. I suspect it was originally Rosen before her ancestors anglicized it. I chose it because it is shorter than my real surname and also to honor my relatives. I would probably use "Rosen" If I ever change my surname.

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