I Chose My Preferred Name And I Still Forget It Sometimes

I Chose My Preferred Name And I Still Forget It Sometimes

"Hi my name is E…Ian. Nice to meet you" Do not be fooled, I too have forgotten my name when I am introducing myself to someone new. Going by a name your whole life and then changing it not only affects others and how they address you, but it also affects myself.

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How did I choose Ian?

A question I have not be asked as much as I had thought, but one I often ask myself, is why Ian? I chose the name because it sounded similar to Erin, but it wasn't her. Too, it flowed with my middle name as I wished to keep it. I did not choose the name because I felt a connection to it because I did not know anyone by the name of Ian…so I thought. However, after I had chosen it, I realized I had a connection to the name as my hairstylist had a son named Ian. For those of you who do not know, my hairstylist is like another mom to me because she is a huge advocate for the LGBTQ+ community as her child is transgender. Thus, I never met her son as Ian because her "son" is solely her "child" and I only knew them by their preferred name, rather than their biological name, Ian.

While I had chosen the name and plastered it on social media, I had a hard time telling my hairstylist of my name. I actually did not tell her my new preferred name as I was unsure of her reaction as she once had chosen the name for her son. It brought up questions in my mind such as "would she be okay with me having that name?" and "how would she feel knowing she is calling me a name she had once given to her child at birth?", but as I was sitting in the hair salon, she brought up my name as she had seen it change on Facebook. She smiled, looked at me and told me she had chosen the name for her child as she had loved it and it only made her love it more knowing that I wanted to be called Ian. And from here on out she has called me Ian.


My hairdresser the day I told her to cut my long hair (November 2017) Ian Hodges

How does one forget their chosen name?

Choosing Ian as a name and remembering myself as Ian has been an emotional roller coaster as I have felt disconnected from my own name. I have even asked myself "what is my name?" or "is this who I really want to be addressed as?" because it is a change. I have felt disconnected from my name because I am reminded more of Erin than I realized. When I am not faced with multiple names, I am Ian, but when I am surrounded by Erin I am often frustrated, not by those that accidentally forget to call me by my preferred name, but because living two lives is emotionally frustrating.

I am surrounded by my biological name and it questions how I want to be addressed because I am being pulled in different directions. We as a society do not think about the documents, licenses, certificates, tagged pictures, etc that our name is printed on for employment, government, and medical use. Too, with the constant emails, appointment reminders, and even the college diploma I have hanging in my room, I am reminded of Erin. Although I am so proud of myself, I see my diploma and I am unsure of who graduated with dual bachelors as it was not Ian. So, forgetting I am Ian is easy because Ian is just beginning to make moves in society whereas Erin has been making moves for a lifetime. Thus, forgive me for my honesty, but I too have forgotten I am Ian.

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I Am A Female And I Am So Over Feminists

I believe that I am a strong woman, but I also believe in a strong man.
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Beliefs are beliefs, and everyone is entitled to their opinion. I'm all about girl power, but in today's world, it's getting shoved down our throats. Relax feminists, we're OK.

My inspiration actually came from a man (God forbid, a man has ideas these days). One afternoon my boyfriend was telling me about a discussion his class had regarding female sports and how TV stations air fewer female competitions than that of males. In a room where he and his other male classmate were completely outnumbered, he didn't have much say in the discussion.

Apparently, it was getting pretty heated in the room, and the women in the class were going on and on about how society is unfair to women in this aspect and that respect for the female population is shrinking relative to the male population.

If we're being frank here, it's a load of bull.

SEE ALSO: To The Women Who Hate Feminism

First of all, this is the 21st century. Women have never been more respected. Women have more rights in the United States than ever before. As far as sports go, TV stations are going to air the sports that get the most ratings. On a realistic level, how many women are turning on Sports Center in the middle of the day? Not enough for TV stations to make money. It's a business, not a boycott against female athletics.

Whatever happened to chivalry? Why is it so “old fashioned" to allow a man to do the dirty work or pay for meals? Feminists claim that this is a sign of disrespect, yet when a man offers to pick up the check or help fix a flat tire (aka being a gentleman), they become offended. It seems like a bit of a double standard to me. There is a distinct divide between both the mental and physical makeup of a male and female body. There is a reason for this. We are not equals. The male is made of more muscle mass, and the woman has a more efficient brain (I mean, I think that's pretty freaking awesome).

The male body is meant to endure more physical while the female is more delicate. So, quite frankly, at a certain point in life, there need to be restrictions on integrating the two. For example, during that same class discussion that I mentioned before, one of the young ladies in the room complained about how the NFL doesn't have female athletes. I mean, really? Can you imagine being tackled by a 220-pound linebacker? Of course not. Our bodies are different. It's not “inequality," it's just science.

And while I can understand the concern in regard to money and women making statistically less than men do, let's consider some historical facts. If we think about it, women branching out into the workforce is still relatively new in terms of history. Up until about the '80s or so, many women didn't work as much as they do now (no disrespect to the women that did work to provide for themselves and their families — you go ladies!). We are still climbing the charts in 2016.

Though there is still considered to be a glass ceiling for the working female, it's being shattered by the perseverance and strong mentality of women everywhere. So, let's stop blaming men and society for how we continue to “struggle" and praise the female gender for working hard to make a mark in today's workforce. We're doing a kick-ass job, let's stop the complaining.

I consider myself to be a very strong and independent female. But that doesn't mean that I feel the need to put down the opposite gender for every problem I endure. Not everything is a man's fault. Let's be realistic ladies, just as much as they are boneheads from time to time, we have the tendency to be a real pain in the tush.

It's a lot of give and take. We don't have to pretend we don't need our men every once in a while. It's OK to be vulnerable. Men and women are meant to complement one another — not to be equal or to over-power. The genders are meant to balance each other out. There's nothing wrong with it.

I am all for being a proud woman and having confidence in what I say and do. I believe in myself as a powerful female and human being. However, I don't believe that being a female entitles me to put down men and claim to be the “dominant" gender. There is no “dominant" gender. There's just men and women. Women and men. We coincide with each other, that's that.

Time to embrace it.

Cover Image Credit: chrisjohnbeckett / Flickr

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Don't Ask Me if it's Real or Not

PSA: Don't ask a girl if her hair is real or not, you may get a response you weren't expecting.

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I am a server at a restaurant in Tampa, and last weekend at work I got asked numerous questions about my hair. Normally, getting asked about my hair isn't a huge issue for me, but it was the comments that were said after, as well as the look of disbelief in this person's face when I answered them.

I walked up to greet my table. Two elderly couples were coming in for drinks and dinner. Putting on my best customer service voice and smile, I introduce myself. As soon as I finish, one of the gentlemen looks at me and says, "WOW. Is that all of your natural hair?" I smile nervously and assured him that this was the hair growing out of my scalp. He then proceeds to add a comment saying,

"It's so big. It looks like you stuck your finger in something and got electrocuted."

I had to sit and pause for a second after hearing this. I think my facial expressions could tell how I was feeling, because his wife jumped in and tried to compliment me on the thickness of my hair, envying it because she didn't have as much hair.

After such an experience, I decided to conduct an Instagram poll, to see what other people's opinions were about this incident, and if it's ever happened to them. Based on the results, people with naturally straight hair don't get asked if their hair is real or not, compared to those with naturally curly hair. Out of those with naturally straight hair, about 76% of the people that voted, have not experienced someone question the authenticity of their hair. On the other hand, of those with naturally curly hair, approximately 82% said they do get questioned about the authenticity of their hair. As a result, 66% of that 82% with naturally curly hair, are of African-American decent or mixed races.

So what's the big deal?

Naturally straight-haired people rarely ever get asked if their hair is real, however, once someone comes along with naturally curly hair and happens to be a person of color, originality is questioned. Why does a certain category of people get asked more often if their hair is real or not? Stereotypes? Ignorance? Genuine lack of knowledge?

Whatever the reason may be, it needs to stop. Wigs and extensions are extremely common in this day and age, but they also aren't restricted to one race of people. Even celebrities of fair skin wear wigs and fake hair.

Whenever I get asked about the authenticity of my hair, people look astonished when I tell them it is all mine. Why would anyone think the hair growing out of my scalp is fake? It is a known stereotype that people of color do have more coarse and curly hair textures, but that also isn't the case for everyone. We need to stop putting people in categories based on stereotypes. This applies to more than just hair texture. Especially when interacting with strangers, you cannot assume things based on what you've heard or any prejudgements you may mentally make. Asking someone if their hair is real or not, is just as bad as asking someone if they got a nose job or breast implants. What if you ask them and they say no? It can be more offensive to that person than you think. I understand there are cases where the person genuinely is uneducated about other hair types, but either way, those types of comments or questions should not be vocalized. As a society we need to be more considerate of the things we say, as well as get rid of stereotypes and negative prejudgments. At the end of the day, we are all the same species. We may look completely different than the person next to us, but that's the beauty of it all.

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