What's in a name? Are they sometimes sheer vanity?

What's in a name? Are they sometimes sheer vanity?

Lately, I've been having a bit of an identity crisis. Not about who I am, but about what my name should be.  

Me on my 4th Birthday

I was born Charles Eric Dorsett. For much of my early life, I bounced between Charles and Eric. Eric was the obvious choice because Charles was the name of my father and Grandfather, so people calling me Eric in the family prevented confusion.  

In school, I switched back and forth, but in middle school I switched to Eric, and have stuck with that ever since.  

Over the last couple years though, a lot has changed. I have learned to accept myself, even finally admitting to myself that I am genderqueer. Maybe it's that, or maybe it is because I am closing in on 40, but I have started to feel like Eric is someone I used to know, and not the person I am now.  

Is this just vanity?

There is a part of me that feels like it is.  I have fought so hard all my life not to care what people call me that to find myself obsessing over whether people call me Eric or Charlie strikes me as vane.  It isn't though.

The only real power we have in this world is to decide how we want to present ourselves to the world.  I won't be offended if people call me either name.  This is something I need to do for me, regardless of whether or not anyone chooses to call me Charlie or not.  This is about the label I put on myself, and how I feel about that label.

How is Charlie different from ERic?

To the people who know me, there really isn't a difference.  I have grown and changed so much, especially over the last few years, that anyone I haven't seen for a while would notice a huge difference.

I am no longer as fearful and angry.  I have found some measure of peace in my life and comfort in my own skin.  I smile more.  My sense of humor is no longer based on making fun of myself.

More than anything, I am no longer the self-destructive person I used to me.  That, more than anything else, is probably why I have been thinking about this so much lately.

This is a metamorphoses more than a reinvention.

The changes I have gone through have been slow, but steady.  I am not deciding to change who I am, I am just naming a change that has already happened.

There is nothing wrong with reinvention.  I have had a few of those in my life, but this is something different.  This is just me naming myself more honestly.

Do you understand what I am going through?  Have you ever been through something similar?  Let me know it the comments.

My name is C.E. Dorsett, and I am a scifi/fantasy writer. I have written the books Shine Like Thunder and The Chain, just to name a couple.  I am really a builder of worlds from the wuxia inspired, scifi setting Our Solemn Hour to the dark fantasy of Dragons of Night.  My writing is influenced by writers like H. P. Lovecraft, Charlaine Harris, Alice Hoffman, Armistead Maupin, Frank Herbert, E E Doc Smith and Robert E Howard. I love to tell stories and talk with my readers.