Posted in On Life, On Parenthood, On Writing, Thinking Out Loud

Pseudonym – What’s in a Name Anyway?

Today’s post is in response to Fandango’s Provocative Question #92. This week’s question asks, “Do you post anonymously? Why or Why not?” I found the question interesting and my answer (as usual) is a multilayered mess of things.

For those of you who don’t know me – I blog under the name Sumyanna. When I started blogging, there never was a question that I would not use my real name. First of all, my husband is an IT guy. His training is always pushing forth the idea that you should protect yourself online – don’t share personal photos, don’t tell people you’re going on vacation, and the like. Let’s just say – his job has taught him to be wary of an online presence. And though he supports my writing, his personality does not really understand the need to “share” anyway. It’s just not his thing.

Pair that thinking with the fact that our personal information has been involved in several breaches and it seems like these days we keep getting letters informing us that things “may have been compromised.” Yeah – the distrust is not necessarily unwarranted. Just the other day, we got a letter from the local hospital saying my daughter’s records have been compromised but they don’t have any proof that it has been used in any way at this time. The thing is – there’s not much you can do to protect yourself when these things happen and I really don’t want to just give that information away freely. It’s about safety.

That aside, I also see myself as a multifaceted person. I’m the mom. I’m the homeschooling parent. I’m the waitress, the maid, the taxi driver – I think you know where I am going with this. For the longest time I have been writing. When I was younger, I used it to soothe the pain of being misunderstood, sometimes I used it to deal with feelings of anger and loss, other times I used it to try to understand myself better – how I fit into the world and who I really was and who I wanted to be.

Even as I got older, I tried to write here and there. Strangely, I never thought of myself as a writer. I guess I didn’t think I was good enough to use that name – perhaps a “real” writer would be published or would have a huge fan following. I’m not sure what I really expected of myself. However, in 2017, I stumbled upon Google Plus. I was fortunate to be surrounded by other writers and I started experimenting and trying to write a little every day. I found myself and for the first time I thought “I am a Writer.” It was around that time that I started this blog. I thought to myself, “I have something to share.” So that was when Sumyanna was born. I did not want to think of myself only as the dishwasher, the taxi driver, the maid, or anything else – if I was going to present myself as a writer, I wanted to use a name that was not tied to those other things. Bringing Sumyanna to life meant that I was accepting that part of myself that I had never allowed before – I was a writer.

I don’t want to go into semantics with anyone. No, I’m not published. No, I’m not famous – I’m lucky if anyone truly reads what I write. However, I write – because it seriously feels horrible not to. I write because it helps me breathe on those days that are a little dark. I write because it helps me swoon with hope and possibility on days when it may be a little easier to pull the covers over my head and hide away from everything. I give myself pep-talks. I pat myself on the back when doing so in my own head is difficult. I celebrate the ways that I am me – when a lot of the time I am told by everyone else that I am deficient – I do not think or walk or act like everyone else. And – I write because I truly want to scream out loud just how beautiful this world can be – in all her messiness, in all her imperfection – because that is what I need myself and I’m sure that at least one other person might benefit from it too. If I did not truly believe that – I would not be here. So I’m going to keep putting the spotlight on those things – I’m going to celebrate who I am and how I view the world around me – I know that I’m different, but I don’t want to hide in the shadows, afraid to let people know the real me.

Not long after finding myself – the name evolved – Sumyanna. It has such a beautiful ring to it. It rolls of my tongue like poetry and I love it. She is the writer in me and the name has evolved from names that mean very much to me, including my own. The name is me, even if it is not my given name – and perhaps even moreso. Every time I use that name, I celebrate that part of myself – the woman who is unafraid to share of herself, the woman who is brave enough to look in the mirror, the woman who tries her best to lovingly hold her own hand through the difficult times, the woman who is unafraid to be who she is without making excuses or feeling less than, the woman who continually strives to be better than she was the day before. It does not mean that I do not struggle – I struggle every single day – but I fight through that struggle every time I write – every time I’m real with myself.

I can’t tell you how proud of myself I was one day, when years ago I accidentally signed a check I was writing with “Sumyanna.” (Yeah, it’s been a while). It truly made me smile. She is a part of me. She is me – out on display for all to see. I cannot say this enough – even though some may see people who use a pseudonym as weakness – as hiding yourself from others – I don’t think that is always the case. And how many times have we heard of people’s Instagram feed or Facebook posts being filled with untruths? How many people tried to make life seem so much better than it really is – even under their own true names? So yeah, I can’t speak for everyone else, but for me – hiding myself couldn’t be further from the truth. When I walk down the street and meet someone, I don’t get to tell them my entire life story. We barely even scratch the surface and in some cases don’t scratch it at all. First of all, they may not be interested. Second of all, there might not be enough time. How many people do I know in my life that don’t even know that I write and don’t even care? Most of them, truly. Everyone else is just too busy doing their own thing.

So if you want to know the real me – this is where you find me, bravely writing the flesh and bones of my story. You could not get a truer picture watching me post pictures on Instagram, uploading posts on Facebook, or sharing my phone number and address. If you want to truly know the heart and soul of someone – listen to their words. I am Sumyanna and Sumyanna has always been me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sumyanna

Beautiful image courtesy of KELLEPICS on Pixabay.com

Author:

Writer of poetry and seeker of knowledge. I hope to inspire and be inspired by my words and the world around me.

13 thoughts on “Pseudonym – What’s in a Name Anyway?

  1. How interesting, Sumyanna. I agree it is a lovely name. I wanted to write using a pseudonym. I was going to use my second name and maiden name Louise Eaton, but my husband was upset. He wanted me to use my married name of Cheadle. If I did that, I felt I might as well use my real name Roberta (Robbie). Your blog name inspired the name of my second blog Roberta Writes and your poetry inspired me to try freestyle poetry.

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    1. I think it’s nice that you use your name though – since I’m assuming it would make it difficult to advertise or mention your books if it was under a different name too. I’ve heard other writers say that. My husband has always been adamant about not sharing too much – he has to take training every year that stresses the importance of safety, so it is drilled into him ๐Ÿ™‚ I am so glad you have experimented with freestyle poetry and also about your other blog. So cool to see how we can rub off on one another, just by sharing.

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      1. There are complications with using a pen name as an author, but it can be done. I never felt that strongly about the use of my name. I would never share personal details on social media like where I live or what schools my boys attend.

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        1. I know what you mean. I’m not really that picky. I think that if someone wants to find something out, its out there if they are resourceful enough.

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  2. To me you are truer than most of the people in my Facebook and Instagram feeds who despite showing the real name goes above and beyond to put up a fake life for us to see. Your writing always inspires me and I see a real and honest person here. I am so glad to have found you in this corner of the internet, Sumyanna. And yes, that’s a beautiful poetic name. There were times I thought why didn’t I start my blog under a pseudonym! I miss that freedom and fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. I greatly appreciate that Vinitha. I know exactly what you mean – that’s one of the reasons I have steered clear of most of social media. I’ve been asked so many times, but seriously – I really don’t have the time either. However, I’m much happier staying in my own lane and enjoying what I have instead of being made to feel that I don’t have enough ๐Ÿ™‚ I guess being known can have its downsides – but seriously, I treat everyone I meet here in the blogosphere the same way – because truly someone could say their name and identity was something that it isn’t too. It can make it hard, being unsure what to call someone (you don’t want to assume) but I haven’t had any problems yet. Besides – you have a truly beautiful name too – just as poetic!

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  3. Thank you for your honest and forthcoming response to my prompt. I can relate to most of what you wrote. For me, Fandango reflects more of who I really am than my real-life identity does. Out of necessity, I find that I have to filter what I say and how I say it in the real world, whereas on my blog I feel that I can express myself, my thought, opinions, and perspectives more openly and honestly. Fandango is the real me more than the real world me is. That said, Iโ€™ve never signed a check using the name Fandango. Not yet, anyway. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    1. I completely agree – and you will sincerely smile if you ever do write a check as “Fandango.” Never say never ๐Ÿ™‚ I really appreciate the prompt. I’ve been told I’m not real because I don’t share my personal information. Obviously – from that response – they don’t truly know me and that’s fine. I have survived this long without them. I’m busy trying to be real.

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  4. I too thought that the name was lovely, I think it was a good choice. And, you never know, when you publish your work, you might choose to keep it! I think that I will someday self-publish my poems (if I can find any that are good), but again using a pseudonym. Who cares? The royalties will still be paid into the right bank account ๐Ÿคฃ.

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    1. I actually use the name wherever I go – ever since I embraced it. If I were ever to be published, it would definitely be under Sumyanna. There are people who have told me “I am not real” because I hide behind a Pseudonym, believe it or not. As far as I’m concerned – those people aren’t worth having around, as they truly do not understand me. And a check sounds nice ๐Ÿ™‚

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