Yep. Age OLD question. A rose.
Okay - I'm a rose. What's my name?
Is my name the one that was given me at birth? Gender specific, family heritage, etcetera etcetera, etcetera.
Is that what defines me? Anne E. Hughes.
In my childhood I went to Catholic school. My name was ANNE. Or HUGHES in fifth grade as the nun decided I would be the only one in the class not to be called by my "christian" name. "Anne" was the sneering sound I heard when called upon by the abusive nuns of St. Peter's Grammar School.
"Aaaaaayyyyyyyaaannne". That name still makes my skin crawl.
I was also never a fan of the distortions: Ann, An, Anus, Huges, Huge, Use....
Well, you get the picture.
My name became "Annie" when I made friends with a southern girl who was my coworker at the NY Playboy Club. I was lucky to get my actual name as my "bunny" moniker - Anne - and the plastic rosette I wore on my right hip was engraved as such. Joycie, however, called me Annie from the jump. And not any proper flat "A" mind you - she said it with all the nasal, sexy drawl of an Alabama woman. I loved her beyond words. Her way of saying "Annie" made me own it. Because that inspiring reinvention of my name was what made me force myself to become the person I am today.
I BECAME Annie. I did my best to shed the oppressive mechanisms of my childhood and I pushed myself to be another person....a better person.
I was not completely successful as evidenced by what I was dragging with me...all the emotional baggage that could not be left behind. I took one step forward some days. Two steps back others.
The most telling remark was when a major casting director actually told me I would "never work in this town again" and being informed that an actor said he "would rather eat glass than work with her again".
Yes. I am challenging. To say the least.
But I am who I am.
I became Annie Equality Hughes when I joined Facebook. I took that name as a gesture of support for the LBGTQ community and their struggle for equal rights under the law - more specifically, marriage equality. Over the next 6 years the name became my own, adding to my identity.
I identify with that name as completely as anyone who has found their identity through experience and self-awareness.
Who am I?
Fiercely devoted and supportive of my friends.
Fiercely confident that religion - all religion - is bullshit.
Fiercely opposed to Republican obstructionism.
Fiercely committed to protecting animals against abuse and murder by "trophy" hunters.
Fiercely and actively campaigning for women's rights and LGBTQ rights. FIERCELY.
My name is Annie Equality Hughes. It is my identity. It is my public persona. It is my NAME.