Gift Box

I changed my name a few years ago, a court gag order protecting me from my father. For several years before this I used the name Kateryna Fury on anything not legal. I don’t answer to the old name, and flinch when someone uses it, even to call another. The name is perfectly reasonable, a good Jewish name. I am not Jewish, but my father might have been. As with many things he told us, there is no evidence, no proof and usually proof to the contrary.

I found my name in the grocery store. I am not joking, it was a gift. The gift box came wrapped in the form of a wizened old woman. She looked like something out of a science fiction book, the wise old leader, the person put in place to lead the hero. She had a soft voice, not craggy but gentle and looked at me her voice too held an accent. I believe she was born in India. “You are Kateryna (middle name) Fury.” I was quietly confused. She then walked back behind the tuna fish can display. I had no idea who she was, and when I tried to catch up, got way laid by a crowd of people deciding to railroad and push around the young woman with a walker, after all, pushing her is a convenience her humanity is not a necessity to them.

I entered research mode, looking up each facet of my name. I had gone my variations on Kat for years, I knew that was part of my name. One of my ex boyfriends, before he landed himself in jail for trying to rape me, kill me and steal my soul, had declared too that I was a Kat. There was something pleasing about this, as I never really wanted to be human as a child. I wanted to be one of my cat’s kittens.

I spent most of my childhood refusing my given name as well. Usually this was strongest during the times of parental betrayal. It took me years to find the granny gift box. She merely identified what I was hunting for. My SCA name is Kata Hrafnsdottir, another name with another meaning that speaks to me. Kata is related to Kateryna grammatically though is older and is Old Norse, the text of course translated for the English Speaker’s benefit. In the philological history of the words, there is a root and universal definition. Hrafn is raven, a reference to one of my dieties, and dottir means simply, daughter. I kept the definition that was most dear, it is my universal theme and it is a part of me.

Many people protest the idea of a name change. My legal excuse was safety, but a part of my identity was wrapped up in the quest for the name I could answer to. Many people claim a name does not matter, yet, if you name your boy child Sue, such as in the Johnny Cash song, he might be teased. Some names are cruel. My nephew Red is going to loathe the color red. People decided upon his birth he would like this color. He is overloaded with bright red toys, clothes, and already likes to go by something else. His middle name is Storm, but, no one thinks to buy him any Xmen toys. He has decided to be Bob this week.

So, here is what I found when I opened the gift box of my name.

Kateryna- Pure. Kateryna is Ukrainian and Russian in origin. It fits a part of my heritage that may not really exist, but the sentiment is beautiful. I am pure. No one had called me that before. This is a name without shame

The middle names, I have multiple, mean individually, Halo or Golden Light, Warrior, The next means Strife, the last means Royalty. One of them comes from my great grandmother, an honor to hold that name. She died when I was small of Alzheimer’s. She was beautiful in her time however, and smart. I am honored to have her name, and it is all that remains of my original.

The last name is a reference to the Erinyes or Dirae, the angry ones. I chose to accept this title for I often see myself as avenging in my actions. I avenge the murdered child in my own heart by living well and fighting for my rights.

Pure golden warrior of royalty and anger. That is what my name means.  The anger aspect does not mean I am full of rage, yelling, or bitter. It is merely an honest reflection of my life. Much of it has been angry, and anger is often seen as power. It was all the power in the world I once knew, and I honour that part of my life too.

Names have meaning, and I treasure mine. The old name was given to someone else, she was named for me and that stands. I will never dishonour that by malinging the name meaning. I am not bound by god however. I am bound by myself to live not just well but with conscious acts of greatness.

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