Talk about a major change!
Jane Wells, one of the more prominent and well-known Automatticians out there has shared that she’s changing her online alias to be more “accurate.” This isn’t just a “Jane 2.0” move, as she shares on her blog, it’s a somewhat emotional decision that has a lot of story to it – which was supposed to be temporary in the first place:
My name is not really Jane. I started going by Jane instead of Jen in 2001 when I moved to Seattle and took a job at Microsoft. How did I wind up as Jane? Needed a nickname (the MS “alias” that ruled your existence) to deal with the namespace issues attendant on such common names as mine, and didn’t want to take the variations available, which mostly involved the nickname Jenny.*
Going forward she’ll be moving most of her online identity to @JenMylo (she’s changing her last name as well). You really have to go read her full blog post of her process and thinking to get a full grasp of the backstory.
I just want to publicly encourage you Jen – I know what it’s like to have a name change, both online and offline. I’ve done the former a hundred-thousand times before. That’s easy. I did it here and here most recently (twice in a year!).
But the latter has been much more difficult and although different than Jane’s name change in a number of ways it’s still been a very tough process.
The short of it is that I was adopted when I was very young and grew up thinking that my korean name was one thing which was one of the only links I had to a completely unknown past. When I went on an epic journey to find my birthparents a few years ago I managed to find my birth mother and she told me that my name was different:
You see, one of the most significant and difficult truths that have been uncovered through my adoption process is that my other name is something different. That the name that I held onto for so long is wrong.
Lee Jin Han.
There are few words to describe this particular feeling and I’m honestly still managing to reconcile the change. To english-speaking mortals, the change actually looks relatively insignificant and minimal from a visual perspective. But you’d have to understand the korean alphabet to see how the difference.
What you’ll see is “Joon” on the left and “Jin” on the right. To get this wrong is not just a simple error, it’s a deliberately different type of stroke from a horizontal secondary to a vertical one.
It’s like writing my name “John” as “Jason” in english… You got the first and last letters right, but completely went stupid in the middle. No, they’re not the same. No one in their right mind, even the stretch of imagination, could consider them the same.
And like John and Jason, Joon and Jin both have historical understandings, cultural implications, and not to mention family ties and emotional connections. The shock has been so substantial that it’s been the biggest focus during the nightly defrags as I’ve drifted off into the land of the jumping sheep.
Although I didn’t have an “abusive” and “absent” father like Jane I simply didn’t have a father to begin with.
All that to say, I understand, in the smallest way possible, what this might be like Jane and I appreciate you sharing your journey with others. Best of luck and you are the coolest Jen Mylo on the planet.
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