And also my legal one.
There are a lot of personal details involved that I will not be going over in a public setting (like in this blog post or on my social media). Do not ask for more details.
But I am still going to offer an explanation.
I am non-binary. That’s a sense of not really being male or female. Depending on how you got to this page, you probably know that by now. The lockdown (I currently live abroad so, yes, lockdown) has forced me to think about my life. Since I no longer have chronic pain, I am no longer in survival mode. And I no longer feel like I’m right on the edge of spiraling in a dizzying haze of pain, stress, and exhaustion. Instead, I can actually enjoy life again. Since surgery, I’ve reinvigorated more physical hobbies like hiking and running. I also have better space to breathe. And more brain power to devote to things beyond scrambling through the day-to-day (and still trying to write, but that’s a different conversation).
I just finished my first road trip after being cooped up with the same people for almost three months. Only one of these people I knew beforehand. That was my friend Seb. Due to an incident at pride, back in early March, I remember him telling me that he hopes I find a more accepting environment someday. Well, overall, living abroad has been more accepting than I expected.
And that, in itself, is a wonderful change.
Sure, there have still been problems.
However, overall, people have been more accepting here. So that has also given me more space to think. I’m trying to move away (at least temporarily) from feeling hypervigilant in how I read other people’s emotions. And I have created a list of what are effectively resolutions for things I want to do differently.
Some of these resolutions are less serious. For example, I want a cat. My author bio still lists a former cat, and I really miss having one. So I have decided that I will be getting a cat (once I’m securely at a different address back in the states). I’m also going to take back up certain hobbies I haven’t really done in a while, like archery and photography.
But then there are more serious ones.
And I have come to the realization that Karen isn’t a name I want to defend anymore.
Yeah, there’s the generational “Karen” stereotype, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m referring to when I have to make bookings under my legal name, or when someone reads it off my ID. I’ve gone by Ren for so long that Karen doesn’t feel like my name anymore. I’ve kept it for writing since I’m already established under that name. But my sales haven’t been doing so well as I’d like, and I’m finding myself having to defend it when I promote my books. (Or, at the very least, it feels that way.)
I got asked about my name sometimes during the lockdown. And I realized that this name will be following me for the rest of my life. But I’m already tired of explaining it. And defending it.
Now that I’m thinking more about what I want in life, I also find myself thinking about what I don’t.
And I don’t want to defend it any longer.
I’m still the same person.
And, therefore, the same author.
It should also be noted that I am more accustomed than I should be to receiving rape and/or murder threats. Therefore, it is safer to distance my writing name further from my legal name.
Any family members actually read my blog? Now’s the time to tell me.