Wednesday, April 26, 2006

ISPs, patience and names

I changed internet providers this week, and at the end of the month, I'll be bidding AOL farewell. I finally have a high speed connection, and I'm enjoying web surfing again because of the faster download times. My impatience is also growing. After only a couple of days, if a page doesn't immediately load, I'm wondering what's up. That should be a sure sign to me that I need to get my hands dirty and plant something and reconnect to the real time of the world. It's good to wait for shoots to rise from the soil. It's a pleasure to see a flower unfurl from a tight bud over the course of days. Everything real and natural reminds us that immediate gratification is an unnatural rhythm, and the farther I let myself get from soil and plants and water, the easier it is to forget that. If there's anything good about what I'm going through with my knee right now, it's being forced to go slower. I can't live mindfully at high speed, and since my life has had me running from pillar to post for weeks now, this is a benefit.

In changing internet providers, I was pleased that I've been able to carry my old screen name to my new @address. I wanted that for the convenience, but there was more. sistercdr has become part of my identity. It's more than how people recognize me online. I've put so much of myself into my blogs and communities in which I've participated that it's helped me recognize a lot about myself. It's helped me shape who I am. That may sound silly, but names have power. They elevate a person or an animal or even an inanimate object from the generic.

As a child, I was called Cindy. It never felt right to me. It was a cute, perky, energetic name, and I was a quiet, daydreamy, contemplative kid. (In some profound ways, I've never changed at all.) When I transitioned to Cynthia as an adult, I was stunned at the resistance I got. Being the overall agreeable person that I am, my family and old friends kept the right to call me Cindy, but to new acquaintances and friends, I was Cynthia. Some people thought I was being snobby and pretentious, but to me, it was a womanly name. A person could minimize or dismiss me as Cindy with more ease than they could as Cynthia. Claiming Cynthia meant that I had to give myself credit as a person worthy of respect.

Now a good number of people primarily know me as sistercdr. I chose the "sister" for the most trivial of reasons -- so my sister would immediately recognize my emails in her crowded inbox. However in letting this name become my internet persona, it's helped me recognize just how connected to other people I really feel, despite my hermit tendencies. It's made me cherish those connections and recognize when I'm letting isolation become a danger. I've been asked many times if I'm a nun. I honestly didn't think about that when I created the screen name which shows just how short sighted I can be. However, I think that perception helped me bring my spirituality public. For many years, this was something hidden deep within. Despite the frequency of my writings on religion and spirituality, it's still neither comfortable nor easy for me, but it's something I can no longer avoid, and I'm grateful. It's taken me to a different level of honesty with myself. It's helped me both acknowledge and reconcile my own duality. Claiming myself as sistercdr has helped me feel more at home with both the world and myself.

One of the great pleasures in life to me is when the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of myself all come together in something mundane, a simple action that can be taken for granted. However, when I let all of me engage, that mundane action becomes something deep and significant. It's been a real surprise that changing ISPs was one of these things.


Blogger Lisa :-] said...

You had shared the "secret" of your screen name before. And I was wondering why you kept it when you changed ISP's, given that you could now call yourself anything you want. Now I know. :-]

April 27, 2006 5:51 AM  
Blogger Celeste said...

Send me your updated email please.

April 27, 2006 5:57 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

You know, now that you mention it, I sort of miss being the Belfast Cowboy.

April 27, 2006 12:09 PM  
Blogger V said...

Aw, I`m glad you were able to keep your screen name. It`s how I see you. Funny how that happens.

April 27, 2006 12:22 PM  
Blogger ckays1967 said...

I understand completely...I kept my screen name too because people recognize it. (Read family)

I too use to go by Chrissy and only family gets away with it now.

This post struck a deep cord with me.


April 28, 2006 11:51 AM  

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