Name Change @

Nellie Evans was having another crisis of identity.  It was time to change her name, again.  She was re-raveling herself into something else.  She didn’t know what yet, but she knew Nellie didn’t speak to who she felt herself to be.  After trying on names like Melinda, just Nell, or Augustine, the name Maime seemed to speak to her.  It was an old-fashioned name, but it spoke a strong, yet quiet peace to her soul.

She found out that the meaning of Maime had a Japanese meaning of real, genuine. “ma” meant dance or flax, “i”meant clothing and put with “me” meant bud, sprout, shoot.  The name seemed to mean something of the earth, a dance with the earth, something real with roots.  That would work just fine for her.  So she let Nellie drop away, which wasn’t difficult and she began to recognize herself as Maime.

Family, Friends, Donald Evans and Maisie Dobbs Part II: And Her Name Changed

Writing for your life, during the thick of it, is a kind of faith. You don’t have to wait for the story to end, you just have to believe that it will. ~E. L. Doctorow

Memoir: Why You Should Write It as You Live It
By August 29, 2017


Now that Maime had changed her name from Nellie, she felt an inner strength grow inside her as if a seed had been planted with her name change and it was taking root in her soul. Nellie was a younger version of herself.  The name Maime held within it her life wisdom, history and remembrances, and so she was sure the change was necessary.

She was a name changer, and she felt it important to warn people that she was that kind of female.  Her change of mind, her reversal of decisions, could seem like she was a living contradiction especially to those who needed to Know and feel that life was about control and all that was familiar. But becoming Maime gave her the authority to change, contradict herself, especially if something was just not right, in a feeling sort of way, in an inexplicable sort of way.  All of this made it seemingly impossible for Maime to ever get the tattoo she always thought she wanted as she never knew how long she would be that person wanting that particular image imprinted on her body, the body that was her carriage for this lifetime.  What if her aesthetic sensibility changed?  What if the Aesthetics Police showed up at her door, examined the tattoo, found it lacking in aesthetics and threw her in jail or worse, sentenced her to a life of hard labor making really ugly, garish tattoos of political figures or something else that held no meaning for longer than 5 minutes?

Maime was always working on herself,  learning to stop the fight inside herself over knowing what she knew and the inner Doubting Thomas that was not so sure she knew what she knew at all.  Her awareness of the quiet voice that said others won’t like this or that was being drawn more and more into the light, so she could just choose to stick with what was right for her and set aside the worries or concerns about what another might choose or how they might judge her for her choice. This brought forth a worry, that she would truly live the rest of her life alone because she hadn’t figured out how to balance sticking with what was right for her and being in relationship.

She pondered her use of “Doubting Thomas” and was very curious about it being a male reference that held her questioning.  What was the female opposite of Doubting Thomas?  The Way Seer?  The Wise Crone?Another “naming” that would grow into itself, like Maime.

She could get an email, text or comment that sounded controlling, or rejecting, but was it really?  She would use the Maisie Dobbs (psychologist and private investigator) technique of clearing her mind, removing unnecessary thoughts and see what was really going on. She discovered that the discomfort she felt was both what she was picking up from others but more importantly, it was a discomfort because she didn’t like what was going on or she sensed something was awry.  She knew that if she didn’t have a sense she liked the people she was corresponding with, it was important to keep that focus on herself, not on what those others thought. That was the most truthful thing and the most difficult.  It was way more important that she knew what she felt and thought, than whether the others liked her or not. She had to remember which way to look, which way to point the camera for a clear and true perspective.

The mix of Donald Evans and Maisie Dobbs was intriguing.  One was a person, and one was a character, and both educated her, shared a vision about creativity, listening deeply and transforming the world they lived in.  Maime thought of them as searchers, adventurers, wanting to know the truth, not the overlays of distortion based on misguided beliefs.  Whether or not this was true about them, she really did not want to know. She just needed them to be those people who could hold the place of creativity, curiosity, and discovery. Hold those archetypes to steady her in your journey into the many things she did not completely understand.




Light on the Aging Adventurer Archetype: For now Her Name Was Nellie

“You are a guiding light for us all, a symbol that (at this entrenched age where we get more and more attached to our routines) change is liberating and courage abounds. Thanks for holding that adventurer archetype!” ~From A friend on my journey
The friend’s comment made Nellie pause and scrunch up her forehead. She did not own being a guiding light for anyone.  And what does getting older mean?  She was puzzled by the idea that we become “entrenched”.  It was hard for her to wrap her thinking around becoming entrenched or held by routines that go unexamined.
Entrenched brought to mind her fight with the idea of “hunkering down”. She bristled at the concept, a concept that people, she knew, only wanted to hunker down.  It just made her feel squirmy, depressed, stuck, enclosed. It made her feel as if she was curled up with a blanket pulled taught over her head and she was pretty sure she would never, ever emerge again. In fact, she was certain that was true.  It brought to mind a life sentence of submergence, possible severe depression and in this case, the opposite of freedom and therefore the opposite of Nellie’s life

She knew life was that hard, from too much experience, and she was always trying to find ways to make life easier.  She was a seeker, a healer, an adventurer, who wanted to understand the dark, death, life and The Mystery, the deep knowing in a wisdom way.

Hunkering down made Nellie feel as if she would be surrendering to the difficulty of living and she, the Mountain Climbing Goat Woman, was not interested in succumbing or surrendering.

She had so many questions about aging. Do people just get tired of how much work life is, so a routine is something they don’t have to think about? Do people decide that sticking to all that is familiar is the best bet, no more adventures into life, because who knows what could happen?  Or is it just about our beliefs and the stories we tell to make sure our beliefs are real. Perhaps it is simply the character we come into the world with. Or perhaps something about karma?
Nellie could feel her brain darting around to comprehend this aging business. She grew up with parents, at one time young socialist, always interested in the new, the different, the interesting, conforming enough to live very comfortably and generously, which suited Nellie well.  Among the things that made up family life were jokes made about aging bodies but always there was due respect for elders, their wisdom, gifts, and talents.  There was something of a tongue and cheek acceptance about aging and criticism for those complaining too much.  So watching people age in her world, was not about slowing, hunkering or being entrenched.  Nellie learned that aging was yet another adventure; the wrinkles spoke wisdom and sometimes there were difficult, challenging and upsetting times, sometimes heartwarming, sweet and loving experiences.
Nellie was indeed an adventurer, mostly solo, and sometimes a person might come along for a bit.  Her dog, Henry, AKA The Mr., Buddy, Honre, Henrique… was always with her.  Her life journey was never about safe and this current stretch was a lot about the opposite of safe.  Nellie knew she had a propensity for wanting to do things differently.  Her character served her well this way.  She wanted adventures, she loved statements like Life is Art because it suggested embedding creativity into every breath of every moment.  With this, she was reminded to keep things sacred, stand outside, watch with new eyes, breathe, move to get a new angle or perspective and let the moment change her, even if for one second.  And that brief moment could be an adventure.
The forethought, which many people were naturally inclined to have, often eluded Nellie, which made her life both rich with adventure, including some necessary and some not so necessary drama.  When she was younger, she thought she should do something just because it scared her.  Now, she does things a bit less recklessly, but still trying things that aren’t about staying or doing the same as what she has known.
Part of the Story
Nellie was a young girl, about 3 years old, when things began to turn.  She was to learn many years later that that was when things changed in her.  Her Aunt, who adored her, told her that something happened then and she stopped being a free spirit, and became very serious, started biting her nails and being quiet and sullen.
Of the times she could remember, one was the 2-3 hour drive to Lowden State Park, Illinois where her father snapped photos of her, her mother, brother, and cousin at the Black Hawk Statue. She thinks that might have been the beginning of The Change and remembers being with her family, enjoying her father’s sense of adventure, the cigar smoke blown into the back seat which made her  both vaguely nauseous and connected to her father, the cool jackets her mom had made for her and her cousin, offering the cozy comfort Nellie took in wearing what her mother had made.  And there was the angst Nellie remembers over wanting to play with her brother but thinking he just didn’t like her all that much.
                                      floellen056-lowden-state-park-ill.jpgRobert, Ellen Michael Lowden State Park, Il 1956?.JPG
On this trip to Lowden State Park, she clung close to her mother all the while feeling her every emotion. She could feel her mother’s upset, her turmoil and while she looked at nature all around, she was continually drawn back to her mother.  She was very young but very aware that things should be different. It was unclear how she knew this, she just did, she felt it, she watched expressions, she hoped to change it so they could all be happy.  She had the experience of a pervasive anger the encompassed that day and everyday she could remember.
Life, then, was hard for Nellie. And, why was that? What happened? What didn’t happen?  Was this story necessary to tell again? Really?