So, after getting asked again about my name I thought I might write a post about it. It might come as a surprise gentle reader but people often ask me if 'Dallas Angguish' is my real name. It's a bit tiring answering that question over and over again but I suppose my name is unusual enough to warrant the curiosity. The answer I normally give is a variation of this:
The full name on my birth certificate is Dallas John Angguish Baker. In the early eighties, when I was a deeply anxious and sad Toowoomba teen in regular therapy with a homophobic psychiatrist, I chose to be known as Dallas Angguish because I thought it reflected how I felt on the inside. Please do not berate me for this cliche, I was after all a teen (the period in life when cliches are the norm) and it was the early Eighties (the time in history when cliches were currency and kind of kitchly cool).
Just FYI dear reader (or is that roller? As in blog roller?), Angguish is actually a transliteration of "anguis" which is Latin for snake and/or dragon (as in anguis in herba/snake in the grass). The serpent and dragon symbolised two things for the traumatised teen that I was: sexual energy and mysticism. The snake has long been associated with both.
This is all very 80s and tres dramatic of course, but as a queer kid in homophobic Queensland a name that celebrated my sexuality, my interest in mysticism and my trauma seemed a good idea.
To complicate matters, the surname on my birth certificate is my grandmother's maiden name (Baker). My grandfather's surname was McPhee. My paternal grandparents were unmarried and so my dad got his mother's surname.
To top it all off, my father - who spent many years in a 'boys' home' because of his mother's mental illness (she was a paranoid schizophrenic) - named me after a boy that he shared a room with in the orphange; the original Dallas John Baker.
So, I never felt that any of my names were really mine. The result was that I cobbled together a name that said something about who I thought I was at the time. I then proceeded to get published under that name and so I'm stuck with it, whether you like it or not.
I hope this explains the angguish of my situation.
Ciao, cheers, thanks a lot.
Tags: name angguish sexuality
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