The Story of a New Name
Like submersion in cool water after a run in August, this name, the one I don’t yet speak, makes me shiver. Metaphors aside, it came to me in the shower. My body is my body, a thing I try to ignore but one that I know doesn’t define me. When it is just me and my body and my pine-scented soap, I can feel suds on my skin and revel in that: sensation, divorced from perception. My body is my body.
I stood there, warm water raining down on my bare skin, and like Athena cracking out of Zeus’s skull, mature and ready for life, the name appeared in my head. I said it out loud, felt it push through my teeth, and I felt a new kind of aliveness. There are now pages in my journal with this name written in cursive, traced over and over. Like I have a debilitating crush, but the person I’m in love with is myself.
And I’m not ready to share this infatuation with the world. It’s fragile, this name, but when I think about it, when I write it down, it sends a thrill up my spine, a lover’s touch, and I know that this name will wait for me. I can hold onto it, save it, keep it for myself for as long as I need to. It smiles at me, warm and inviting, and it makes me feel like I always have been who I always will be.
C. M. Green is a Boston-based writer with a focus on history, memory, gender, and religion. Their work has been published in fifth wheel press, Roi Faineant, and elsewhere. Their writing can be found at CatMaxineGreen.com, and they are on Twitter @cmgreenery.