Sunday, February 23, 2014

What's in a Name?

Yesterday I started a Facebook business page for  myself. I'm really starting to feel that hard tug to make everything a little more real. As clear as I'm becoming in regards to my destination, I still feel pretty foggy on direction. 
Which means, I’m still blocked somewhere.

For years, I have to some degree always felt unoriginal; a little too common for comfort in many ways...and far too uncommon in others. Lately, this issue has been right at the surface of my emotions. I’ve been battling with some very big limited beliefs in regards to unoriginality and originality alike, thus feeling obsessively concerned with not being able to stand out in a positive way amidst something as vast as the World Wide Web. I’ve been doing the tango with this impending sense of doom-the one where I see myself drowning in a pool of Jen Taylors while sounding like someone’s parrot.

I’m pretty sure what triggered the whole ordeal was blowing the dust off my twitter account yesterday and doing a quick twitter-handle verification. This is a common scanning process that I often go through to see how close I can get to being identifiable by my actual name online.
Turns out @_Jen_Taylor closed her twitter account, so I nabbed the name. I’m still waiting for @Jen_Taylor , or preferably, @JenTaylor to get bored with tweeting...

My mind was getting increasingly ugly as I navigated what little space was left for yet another one of us commonly named folk... right before I tempestuously decided that by the time I die I will have the rights to my name everywhere.  

A little voice inside me began to whisper a well known quote... 
“What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would sme…”
“Shut up William! JUST.SHUT. UP. 
With a name like Shakespeare, your opinion is invalid on this topic”.
So that was pretty much the end of that.

And as the story always goes for me, at times of insecurity my creativity and ability to express myself get heavily constipated. I posted a new profile picture on my personal Facebook that says Kiss me I’m a writer. Perhaps it was only as a desperate reminder to self, but someone ended up asking me what I’m writing; to which I thought-
"I have no bloody idea" 
Yet responded- 
“A whole lot of garbage at the moment” 
Which was still true in context.

(Let me just squeeze in some appreciation here for not living in the day and age of typewriters)

Anyways…I started toying with the idea of writing under a pen name. 
That felt like a big NO.
Possibly, initials and a last name? 
I named my Facebook page Jen and just left it at that. 
That’s what everyone who knows me, calls me.
Heck, that’s what I call myself.  
Good enough for now.
Then Facebook got difficult on me.
“Tell us about yourself”
*Blink Blink*
150 letters that sum up what it is you’re all about.
But I’m not doing any of it yet, so what do I write there?
I was so freaking blocked that I couldn’t even string together 150 letters.  

Last night I slumped down on the couch surrounded by my uncertainty and insecurity. I was feeling pretty defeated and I ended up asking myself (out loud no less…)

What the hell am I doing here, really?
What is it that I keep trying to say?
What’s my angle?
Is my name really going to mean anything significant?

(And this, People, is why it’s always ok to ask questions... even if they're out loud-even if only to yourself- especially if you start suspecting you might be crazy)

Today, back on my quest for the right online real estate, I swung by www.jen.comI was hoping that they’ve been delinquent on their domain name renewal fees.

They’re still responsible business owners.

But I felt compelled to take a look around their web page. 
I don’t know why. I've checked in with  their site at least once a month for the past 2 years; today I thought I’d check out what they were all about. I scanned the tabs and drop boxes…

“Boring, Boring, Acronyms for Lord knows what, Science-y and Confusing”….
...until I came across “Our Vision”.

I wasn't sure why, but that’s where I was going.
And this is what was waiting for me:

"Jen’s name has roots in the Chinese term for altruism.

The symbol for ‘jen’ combines the characters of 
onerepresenting a single human being

And tworepresenting community.

Thus, JEN’s vision is to promote healthy communities by expanding access to data about individual and community health.

Um. Yeah.
In a nutshell. Pretty Much.

I sat there for a little while; switching it up often between re-reading in complete and utter seriousness and laughing like a fool. Everything just spoke to me. Everything I had asked the night before was right there. Now, because I can still be somewhat skeptical curious, I googled it further… 
Luckily the universe knows how stubborn I can be as it all seems to be part of the plan, so I'm assuming it was much obliged to entertain my momentary pig-headedness.

Jen: Pronunciation: (zhun, run)-n. (in Chinese philosophy)

A compassionate love for humanity or for the world as a whole.
Humaneness, benevolence, kindness. The ideograph shows man connecting heaven and earth. 

And then I stopped searching.
I fell in love, absolute love with the possibility that there could exist in me,  a single human being and a community. In that moment, I appreciated having my name... and I couldn't think of a more perfect name or vision to have, even if I have to share both.    

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