I have had a social profile on Facebook for eight years, listing myself under my self-given pen name of Dragonness Wyverna. It was harmless fun. My friends and family knew who I was, and those that didn’t had no idea who to look for. My intent was to avoid people I knew but didn’t want snooping around in my personal life. It worked well, keeping those who were put off by my ecccentricity away while still welcoming those who weren’t afraid of my oddities. Then, last week, Facebook let me know that they had been alerted that my name was unsuitable and insisted I either prove it was actually my legal name or change it. When I wasn’t able to provide proper validation, they locked me out of my account until I submitted a more acceptable name. I did try to just re-enter “Dragonness Wyverna,” but they threatened to lock me out of my account permanently if I continued to insist upon my false name. I was forced to bite the bullet and submit my birth name.
It’s a bit ridiculous on both sides when you step back from the situation. I wasn’t causing any emotional, physical, or monetary harm by operating under the name “Dragonness Wyverna,” so there was no need for Facebook to insist on my changing it. If I was a terrorist, pedophile, hacker, or some other felon with a grand plan, eight years would have been more than enough time for me to cause whatever trouble I had planned. On the flip side, it was just a screen name, a pseudonym, so there was no reason for me not to change it. There are plenty of dumb technical reasons for Facebook to insist I use my real name, and it would make me easier to found by lost childhood friends. The problem only comes when you take into account how attached I am to “Dragonness Wyverna.”
When it comes to names, “Dragonness Wyverna” is about as dumb as they come. I created it when I was thirteen as my screenname for the dragon oriented art website dragnix.net by feminizing “dragon” and the dragon-cousin “wyvern.” I made “dragoness” more of a name by adding an extra “n,” and “Dragonness Wyverna” was born! Naturally, I had a dragon avatar to go with the name, and I spent several years on dragnix befriending several other dragon-loving teen artists. I grew attached to the name because of the friends I had made with it, and I decided that I was going to publish my future books under the name “Dragonness Wyverna.” When I joined Facebook, I went ahead and made it my official name, then carried it over to my Instagram and Twitter profiles. As the years went on, it became my name more than my actual name. It better represented my eccentric personality and passions. When I went through college, I earned the name thrice over, being called “Dragonness,” “Dragon Lady,” and “Dragon Girl” by random students who noticed my extreme personality. I loved it! I loved being Dragonness. It was a badge of weirdness I was so proud to bear, aand my friends shook their heads and laughed fondly at my peculiarity.
I’ll admit, filling out the neccessary paperwork to legally change my name to “Dragonness Wyverna” crossed my mind more than once. Unfortunately, I’m not so far removed from reality to think that it is an appropriate name in the normal world; Princess Consuela Bananahamock would be more appropriate. Any profession outside of entertainment would not hire a “Dragonness Wyverna.” I could see how such a name would effect my current position as a K3 teaching aide. If I were a parent, I would admittedly think twice before entrusting my child to any weirdo calling herself “Miss Wyverna” or “Miss Dragonness.” Professions aside, I think my parents would be hurt if I discarded the name they gave me. It might sound strange for a twenty-six-year-old to care what her parents think about her name, but I respect them. They’ve done an excellent job raising me, though I make no claims of being perfect. And while I don’t care for my first name, I appreciate where it came from. I’m also quite proud of my family name; we have a strong reputation for hard work, which has earned me more than one job. I also don’t actually see anyone other than my best friend calling me “Dragonness Wyverna” in real life.
When Facebook made me change my name, I was lost in a depressed funk for two days. It felt as though I had been stripped of my identity, as if who I was wasn’t good enough. However, after dwelling on the problem, looking at it from all angles, and seeing how my friends loved me no matter what name I was forced to bear, I came to accept the truth. Who I am is more than a name. I could be named Regina Filange, and it wouldn’t change my dreams, my passions, or my beliefs. It’s just a name, and there are people with worse names out there. When I am finally published, and my books are being as well read as Harry Potter, I can have whatever name I want, no matter how ridiculous.
Dragonness Wyverna is me.