I really am glad that I sat down, 24 years ago, and created an entirely new name for myself – one I could use when being creative, or making new friends, or needing the slightest obfuscation. One I owned so entirely that I could hand it out to others with whom I felt kinship.

I literally printed out a sheet with two-letter combinations I liked the nebulous "feel" of, and a Scrabble rack and tiles, to make something 8+ characters long that would be accepted by username fields.

Never since have I worried, for a moment, about who I'd be in a new space, online or off. Online, in fact, if a search turns up the correct spelling of my name, you find me or a once-close associate. (That has its own frustrations 🙄, but it keeps me honest. I grew.)

I am RED; that, though, was a realization and something of a pledge, personal and public. RED is my character and essence, as firm and as contradictory as all the things with which people associate it.

Thraeryn is my name. My name. Mine to live in; mine to grant or revoke its use. No one comes to it with unwanted meanings from language or religion. No one comes to it with memories of a former friend or enemy. For nearly a quarter century, I was (and am) responsible for building it, every day.

It's a freedom and responsibility few people choose, or even consider, and I highly encourage it. You are your own creation! You! Life – genetics, and family, and friends, and experience – gave you building materials, but You were always the one charged with turning those materials into something to call your own. Something in which, at the end, we all hope you can take pride.

Give your magnum opus a title, friend. I have mine, and am grateful ever day.