I was named after the then-king of Belgium and my parents. Apparently, discussions with both the minister and the grandparents were getting heated enough that naming me in the Rempt family tradition (Simon, Cornelis, Simon, Cornelis, ad infinitum) wasn’t going to fly, and putting in the names of the granddads as second, third name wasn’t going to work either.
So I was a Boudewijn Simon Anthonie. My mom has always been pissed it wasn’t Anthony, but that was a spelling mistake on my dad’s part, at the registry office. My dad is Simon, my mom was Antonia (born 1939, so what was the connection to the NSB’s Mussert again? Though I also had an Antonia aunt who was born before WWI.) And my “roepnaam” — what my parents put on the birth card as what they were going to call me was “Boudy”.
Yeah. When that got known in primary school, it heralded much bullying.
And in secondary school, feminizing my name to “Boudewina” was pretty much a fave of the bullies — and that group comprised all of my classmates, pretty much. Hey! Boudewina! You’re sitting like a bitch — kick. Hey Boudewina, you’re walking like a tart, push. Hey, Boudewina, your test resultts are good like a girl’s — stomp.
(And years later, when I was in my fifties, and I was out to my wife, though not in public yet, when I was fifty, the local comic book shop owner revived “Boudewina” all on his own…)
When I got into free software, and irc, and Linux, “Boudewijn” was too long — too many characters for a Linux user name back in in 1993. So, I shortened it to “Boud”. And that worked?
Pretty much the only problem I had was teaching people the right pronunciation, but I didn’t really care about that. There was one Krita sprint where I was near the table where Cyrille, Dmitry and others were hacking, and one after another put their finger in the air and shouted, “Boud, boud, can you take a look at this?”
And then corona happend, and I had no reason anymore to fake being male, and came out, first to my wife, who also doesn’t live with her baptismal name.
And I was like, I need a new name, and, NOOOOOO, it doesn’t need to start with a “B”. Fuck that letter ‘B’! Like so many of us, I went through all the table-top RPG player character names of all the people I had played in the past thirty years. Unlike many of us, they all had different names — I didn’t want to contaminate one character with another — but I didn’t figure out anything appropriate. Maybe because I had so many names I had used before?
At that point, Irina, my wife, suggested “Halla”. It’s an Ilaini word (and Irina and I got together over our respective invented worlds and languages) and it means “blackbird”, and I’ve always been really partial to blackbirds… And I had never used this, the most common girls’ name in Ilaini, for any of my PC’s, so it was free!
So, in the end, I once again didn’t name myself, but got named by someone else, by the woman I’ve been with for over thirty years, and the name just fits!
(The really weird thing right now is that I not only never played any PC with the name Halla, but also that meeting other Halla’s in Valdyas is really making me feel discombobulated.)