I really liked him, but it was one of those textbook bad relationships that doesn't do good for anyone. I had repeatedly attempted at ending our relationship, managed for two weeks the winter before, and yeah we still hung around each other. But then, I finally saw a for-sure way out that month. He would be leaving to chase his dream at the end of the summer and after that we'd both be free from each other. That was a good thing.
That month I finally tried the blogging thing. I launched Sopphey Says to a crowd of 20 people who I considered a part of my life. The first plan consisted of writing about poetry and poets/people I admired. I started out with Ad Lucium a post for Aleister Crowley. Crowley led me to grow into my pagan feet. I read a lot of his work, about his life, and in general didn't really agree with his witchcraft, but I became hooked on esoteric teachings.
Crowley's real name is Edward Alexander Crowley. He reached a point in his life when his name wasn't living up to his expectations. An excerpt from The Confessions of Aleister Crowley: An Autohagiography leads to the following:
"For many years I had loathed being called Alick, partly because of the unpleasant sound and sight of the word, partly because it was the name by which my mother called me. Edward did not seem to suit me and the diminutives Ted or Ned were even less appropriate. Alexander was too long and Sandy suggested tow hair and freckles. I had read in some book or other that the most favourable name for becoming famous was one consisting of a dactyl followed by a spondee, as at the end of a hexameter: like Jeremy Taylor. Aleister Crowley fulfilled these conditions and Aleister is the Gaelic form of Alexander. To adopt it would satisfy my romantic ideals."So, in part because of the fascination for Crowley, I too decided it was time to change my name. I was tired of people mispronouncing it. Yes, the guy I liked could say my name and that mattered a whole bunch when we were gazing at each other's eyes. But, I was ready to be a professional. I had a goal for my senior year to rock on a hundred levels of awesome (for the record it rocked on two hundred levels of awesome) and I couldn't walk around having people mispronounce my name.
I mean, logistically, how hard was it for someone who could never pronounce Spanish to say:
"Hi, this is Sarai Oviedo. She designs our award winning magazine."
It always turned into:
"Hi," awkward pause and shake of head, "this is Sau390ur49efuefj. She designs our award winning magazine."
I just hated it. One of the things about me being Mexican, was me being against nonMexicans butchering my name. I felt wronged. It felt wrong. So, I took Crowley's courage and narcissism to give my name its Mexican honor back. I took a long hard look at my life and the poets I was reading at the time. I looked through my favorite Greek poets, Sappho and Ovid and things just clicked.
I had no clue about dactyls or spondees, but I did know I wanted two syllables. Because, two syllables is easy. I would keep my name intact, by starting my new name with my initials:
then I would take Sappho's middle pronunciation:
SO + PPH
then I scrambled for a name that sounded similar, I chose Sophie. I had developed an online personality that always used the combination "ey" at the end of a name, so I decided to stick it to my name:
SO + PPH + EY
I started my senior year meeting new people with:
"Hi, my name is Sarai but you can call me Sopphey."
Of course, my old friends insisted on continuing the "Hey Sau390ur49efuefj." Some accused me of changing my name to be American, others just preferred the ‘old me,’ but Sopphey caught on.
Taking control of my name made me realize that I had it in me to start the publishing company I always wanted. So I started calculations for a print size for my printed books. Then, in the middle of all that I became ordained because it felt right. Knowing that awful relationship would end and knowing I had the rest of my life to do whatever I wanted made things awesome. In May of my senior year I had one of the last conversations with my father*.
I came out to him that day and he supported me. I told him how I changed my name so that people would stop mispronouncing the awesome real name he and my mom gave me. He completely supported the idea. We talked about how Sopphey was a very feminine name and all I needed to really fit into my shoes was a guy name. We bounced around some ideas, his first choice was Bruno, but my first choice was Vance. He thought about the name while he told me a joke then reassured me that any name I pick would be the perfect name.
Thus, I became Sopphey Vance. Looking back at this story, you could almost say that a lot of good things happened out of this name change. In a way, a lot of things did happen. But, I didn't fully step into my new name until last year when I walked into a bar, already drunk, ordered a shot of vodka and a Smirnoff Ice. I sat on the stool thinking, "she's such a cute bartender." For a drunken moment I realized that changing my name had nothing to do with being more American. It wasn't a way to hide my crazy side from my "real identity." It was a change in presentation to the maze that I am. Sopphey Vance means that I rock on over 200 levels of awesome and I'm doing it on my terms.
*I don't know where my father is. He could be dead (but I really know he's not), or he could be in Mexico. Wherever he is, I miss him.