Name (Poem 15 of 30: 2016)


By any other and all that
(more regurgitation)
If every tongue vanished today
Every ear, nose, and fingertip
Every human brain disintegrated
The rose would still be there
Smelling completely sweet
Going generations unnamed

Names are only important in the way words are
To convey meaning and organize concepts and objects
This is the preface to my reason for this rambling

My parents named me Jolene
They named me after the Dolly Parton song
On purpose
My sister is named for a love song by the Beatles
And I’m named after a man-stealing douche bag

To be transparent
I have no problems with Dolly Parton
And I probably wouldn’t mind the song either
But I knew all the damned lyrics years before I actually heard it
My parents never played it for me
But everyone loves to sing it at me
When I walk in a room

And from a very early age
I resented this
As soon as I could spell my name
I was spelling it J-O-E
I was always corrected
My entire family still writes J-O Jo
In every fucking card
I’m blue in the face about it and creeping towards 30
And when I was a barista
Customers had no problem
Reminding me, like they were doing me some favor
That condescending kindness
That implies they believe my faculties must be diminished
Or that I hadn’t been born and raised here
Like I’m oblivious, stupid, or both
Or worse they get it and they hate me for it

In these moments I remember Popeye
He always reminded me that I am what I am
And fucking spinach is delicious
Canned not as much, but still, sound advice

What I am, as I have come to realize, is complicated
I always knew I was rocking my own drum
(For fuck’s sake, I’m writing this on a typewriter)

Among a sopping-wet, shitty ton of other reasons
This was one that made me feel a strong need
To enter into the name-change process
This wasn’t some over-night decision for me
This has been something I have grappled with
For the entirety of my awareness
In elementary I was already putting fake names on school work
I actually got in trouble for it more than a few times
Plus, it looks ugly as hell in cursive
So my signature is ugly

It’s always felt more like a motel room of a name for me
It’s okay for a short time but it’s not home
And something under the surface
Always makes you feel..dirty
I’ve been told my name makes me sound “like a country star”
Or a “Stan Lee character”
Owing to my last name starting with a J
That’s right, my parents also made me a walking alliterative
These are some of the more nuanced, nuisance reasons
The funny little moments my name has gotten me into

In the deep end of the pool
There is always the abuse factor
Beyond all the physical and the horrifying
There was the systematic stripping
Like copper from an abandoned house
Or parts from a car in a chop shop
Everything I was was wrong
I was and am a wall flower as a result
So I felt and feel that a departure was necessary
Not from myself but from the twisted wreckage
Of my broken and vulnerable psyche

To step out
And into my own skin
To be wholly me for the first time
So, I changed my name to Moly
It’s short for Molyneux
Which happens to be nickname heavy
And androgynous which suits my gender fluidity
I knew it was an uphill thing to do
But it was a way for me to
(1) Never have to worry about my mother finding me
And, (2) More importantly,
It allowed me to re-establish
My sense of identity
Having never existed independently before

The thing is
I knew this was something I never wanted to hide
My past is my past
Experience shapes but it doesn’t have to define

Jolene as a word meant being broken down piece by piece

Moly as a word means never letting fear be a motivator


This was a long one. Thanks for getting to the end. Really. It’s a lot and banally personal. It was a long time coming, having been simmering in my subconscious for sometime, and a bit painful to share. I feel weird about it, exposed. Worried that someone will stab at my underbelly bits. Or make fun of how weird I look naked. It’s been a week of petulant assholes and I’m feeling very timid. I can’t let jerks take me down, though. So, I’m dusting myself off but I’m still going to bitch a bit about the skinned knee. Seriously, thank you again.

❤ Moly


About Moly

Average, boring, self-involved human. Twitter: @CultOfCocktails Facebook:
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